This is a victory for me. I have never finished a Marcus Sedgwick book before. They are just always so dense and elaborate. I have to say that this book was no different. For such a thin book, it was quite the beast.
Arturo is just a normal boy in a colonia outside of Juarez, Mexico, that likes to play cards and live a simple life. That is until his best friend returns, and he is in serious trouble. Now, Artuno must play for his best friend’s life and his own.
This book started out so slow for me. I was ready to put it down. Then, it started to pick up. I was eventually engulfed by it. After the major climax of the story, it dipped too fast into description. I was bored again. Once again, it eventually grabbed my attention and held it until the end, but it was a struggle from page one. This is why I wouldn’t rate it super high. It’s inconsistent pacing was not my favorite.
This book is something that I would say is important for sure. We like to think of America as the world police (“A-merica. Fuck, yeah! Comin’ again to save the motherfuckin’ day, yeah!”) and we are in the right. The rest of the countries are in the wrong. We should only focus on making American better even if it means slums and no living wage for others. This books shows us our flaws. The world political giants crush the little guys. They do not care what happens to the world because it does not matter as long as Americans are not suffering the most.
This book faces everything from Drug Wars, Politics, NAFTA, Religion, Climate Change, and Immigration. It held up a mirror to my privilege and made me want to do something to change how the world works. We get so bogged down in our own struggles and hardships that we forget that we are still extremely privileged in comparison to many residents of corrupt countries.
I am not sure that I would recommend this book to just anyone, but I do think it has a place in YA literature. When put into the proper hands, this book might be a driving force for our next political giant.