“Bridge (The Alternative)” Patrick Jones

Rated 4 stars **** ARC. ebook. To be published September 1, 2014. Darby Creek (Lerner Publishing). Includes Spanish to English glossary and Author’s Note.

BridgeAll eighteen-year-old Jose wanted to do was graduate high school and go to college but, at his alternative high school, these simple goals have eluded him for five years. His parents are undocumented immigrants who don’t know English, his mom works two jobs, and his dad had worked 10-hour days until he fell off a roof due to a negligent foreman and suffered brain damage. With his father unable to work, Jose works two jobs to make ends meet. In addition, as the only English speaker in the household, he is often called upon to translate for them which makes him miss school.

Falling asleep in class from working nights, missing school due to family translation appointments, staying home to take care of his Aunt’s kids, while dropping out several times to work full-time have kept Jose from his graduation and college goals. He works hard to keep family issues from interfering with school work, but each day’s problems seems to make his goals more impossible to reach.

Luckily he has understanding teachers, but even they are beginning to get frustrated. They know he is hiding something, as he never quite answers their pointed questions about his life, but Jose can never let them know about the secret he’s carried for 10 years. This secret is his reason for working hard, but the guilt is weighing on him each year that he remains silent.

Can Jose, an American citizen born to undocumented, non-English speaking parents break out of the cycle of poverty? Will he finally confess the guilt that has eaten at him for 10 years and be able to move on with his life? Patrick Jones’ no-holds barred story of a young boy and his inner motivation to rise above his circumstances when everything is conspiring to bring him down will keep readers turning pages to find out whether or not Jose will succeed.

Recommended for reluctant readers, especially boys, aged 14 and older.


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