In the first title in the Border Town series, Alegría introduces Fabiola “Fabi” Garza, a Mexican-American teen in the fictitious Texas border town of Dos Rios.
Although her best friend, Georgia Rae, moved away over the summer, Fabi is looking forward to a new school year, since she can finally show her younger sister Alexis the ropes at Dos Rios High. Working as a server in her family’s Mexican restaurant, Fabi is joined by a colorful cast of friends and familia. Against her sister’s advice, Alexis takes up with the popular crowd at school, including football hotshot Dex Andrews. The book quickly takes a darker turn when restaurant employee Chuy is mugged and beaten while covering Fabi’s shift. While her parents and others suspect her cousin Santiago, Fabi believes he is innocent, regardless of his past troubles. Meanwhile, Alexis begins lying to her family to spend more time with Dex and resenting Fabi’s sisterly advice. Overhearing someone bragging at a party about mugging undocumented immigrants, Fabi believes she knows who robbed Chuy. After Santiago ends up in jail, Fabi realizes she has to reveal what she knows. The author sprinkles Spanish words naturally in the text, tackles timely issues without preaching and provides enough light moments to balance the tone.
A welcome entry into the teen market, especially for Bluford Series fans. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-18)