Disappeared by Francisco X Stork (review)
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Reviewed by
Stork, Francisco X. Disappeared. Levine/Scholastic, 2017 [336p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-545-94447-2 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-545-94584-4 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 7-12

Sara Zapata supports her family as a journalist for Mexico’s El Sol newspaper and, fueled by her desire to find her best friend Linda who was abducted four months before, uses her position to highlight the plight of young women affected by violence in Juárez; when she receives disturbing death threats from an unknown entity, she becomes the one with a target on her back. At the same time, her brother, Emil-iano, who after dabbling in petty crime has devoted his life to supporting urban youth, ends up being recruited by people associated with the local drug cartels. The siblings soon find themselves in a race against the clock to save their own lives and the lives of those whose fates are intimately connected to their own; unfortunately, they each quickly realize that few in Juárez can be trusted. Stork presents a unique story of survival and the bond between family that is heartbreakingly grim while somehow remaining hopeful. The story spans a mere week and unfolds in two parts, the first taking place in Mexico and the second in the United States. The chapters, which alternate between the siblings’ perspectives, give a meticulous play-by-play [End Page 38] of their perilous journey until the perspectives unite in a nail-biting climax that will have readers desperate to know the ending. The story sensitively highlights the very real crisis of the desaparecidas (the disappeared women) in Juárez while also providing a humanizing perspective and timely context to discussions—and readers’ understandings—of the U.S./Mexico border.

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