Friday, 3 May 2019

Book Review: The Border (Young Adult)

The Border
Steve Schafer

Publisher: Scourcebooks Fire
Publication date: 5th September 2017
Pages: 364
Format read: eBook
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

A band plays, glasses clink, and four teens sneak into the Mexican desert, the hum of celebration receding behind them.
Crack. Crack. Crack.

Not fireworks--gunshots. The music stops. And Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys are powerless as the lives they once knew are taken from them.

Then they are seen by the gunmen. They run. Except they have nowhere to go. The narcos responsible for their families' murders have put out a reward for the teens' capture. Staying in Mexico is certain death, but attempting to cross the border through an unforgiving desert may be as deadly as the secrets they are trying to escape...

The Border is the debut novel of author Steve Schafer.

Four Mexican teenagers witness the cold blooded murder of their families, by a band of Narcos, whilst attending a 16th Birthday celebration. They flee into the darkened night with the sounds of death threats ringing in their ears.

Schafer has lived, worked, volunteered and travelled throughout most of latin America, including northern Mexico and it is clear he has extensively researched his topic.

The story is narrated in the first person by 16 year old Pato. But we also get a good sense of the other three main characters, Arbo, Marco and Gladys.
When they realise their only means of escape is across the Sonoran Desert into the USA the teens are naive and unprepared. Desperate situations call for desperate measures.

It’s easy to feel empathy for these four teens. Good kids who have been placed in a life or death situation. Throughout the story they bicker, they get along, they dream and occasionally the leadership role shifts but most of all they are scared; just like normal teens.

This is a timely and relevant story with the immigration debate currently storming in America.
The Border is a highly emotional and thought provoking read with palpable suspense and page turning action.

Highly recommended!

A few words from the author:
Political discourse often loses sight of the individuals at the heart of the issue. To generalize they are people in need. They leave desperate situations to  find an opportunity for a better life.

My rating    5/5 
Content: violence
                 mild sexual reference

Photo credit: Goodreads

Steve Schafer is an avid cultural explorer, animal lover, bucket-list filler, and fan of the great outdoors.
He has a master’s degree in international studies from Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two children. The border is his first novel. 

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
Website  ||  Twitter  ||  Facebook   ||  Goodreads  


  1. This sounds like a really unique story to me. I like the fact that it's so relevant to all the news you're hearing about the Mexican Border.

    I should check it out on Goodreads and maybe add it to my shelves!!

    1. grab a copy if you can it's very thought provoking and realistic.