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Cover for Illegal


Bettina Restrepo


List Price: 17.99*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (8/27/2019)


In this timely and gripping novel, author Bettina Restrepo exposes the challenges of one girl’s unique yet universal immigrant experience. This is an eye-opening look into the harrowing journey a family takes to forge a more hopeful future.

Nora is on a desperate journey far away from home. When her father leaves their beloved Mexico in search of work, Nora stays behind. She fights to make sense of her loss while living in poverty—in wait of her father’s return and a better day.

When the letters and money stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must look for him in Texas. After a frightening experience crossing the border, the two are all alone in a strange place. Nora must find the strength to survive while aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and her quinceañera.

* Booklist Top Ten First Novels for Youth * YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers * Amelia Bloomer List * TAYSHAS Reading List Pick *

Praise For Illegal

“This memorable coming-of-age story will awaken readers to the overlooked struggles of immigrants.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking. An excellent choice for a book discussion group or a class conversation starter about immigration, prejudice, or gangs.” — Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

“A vivid and unsparing look at the life of an illegal teenage girl who comes to the U. S. from Mexico in search of her father. Faith, family, and friendship are all features of this unforgettable individual life. An important novel that deserves a wide readership.” — Michael Cart, author of MY FATHER’S SCAR and LOVE AND SEX: TEN STORIES OF TRUTH

Katherine Tegen Books, 9780061953422, 272pp.

Publication Date: March 8, 2011

About the Author

Bettina Restrepo received a BS from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of a picture book, Moose and Magpie. She worked as an internal auditor in the Hispanic supermarket Fiesta Mart, which is portrayed in this book. There she examined firsthand the challenges in the nuances of life for illegal immigrants. Bettina lives with her family in Frisco, Texas, and is the daughter of Colombian and German immigrants.