by Stork, Francisco X.

When Sara uses her job as a reporter to draw attention to the girls who have been kidnapped, she becomes a target; meanwhile her brother, Emiliano, finds himself being lured into the narcotics business by the promise of big money.

Francisco X. Stork is the author of Marcelo in the Real World, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens and the Once Upon a World Award; The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, which was named to the YALSA Best Fiction for Teens list and won the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award; Irises; The Memory of Light, which received four starred reviews; and Disappeared, which also received four starred reviews, and was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year. He lives near Boston with his wife. You can find him on the web at franciscostork.com and @StorkFrancisco.

*Starred Review* As a reporter for El Sol newspaper in Juárez, Mexico, Sara tirelessly writes reports on las desaparecidas-girls who suddenly vanish from their homes. It's more than just a job: her best friend, Linda, disappeared several months ago. Meanwhile, her younger brother, Emiliano, is hard at work earning what he can from small jobs to help support Sara and their mother. When an opportunity arises to increase his family's finances, he jumps at the chance, only to find out that his dreams of a better life lay in the town's most lucrative industry-the drug trade. Both siblings find out how much danger they are in when Sara receives threats on her life that may involve Emiliano's potential business partners. Together, the siblings flee to safety toward the U.S. border. The plight of las desaparecidas is all too real for girls all over Mexico, and Stork does not shy away from the facts of human trafficking, the drug industry, and the senseless violence that accompanies them. Stork uses parallel story lines to flesh out the two protagonists and then slowly brings them together to a harrowing climax. Not only does this result in a riveting story, it also highlights the harsh complexity of young Mexicans' lives. Readers will find this thrilling as well as eye-opening. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Sara Zapata and her brother, Emiliano, do their best to survive with their integrity intact while their beloved Juárez is overrun and endangered by a web of criminals that even involve the police and local government officials.Sara is a journalist who writes about her best friend, Linda, the latest girl kidnapped by the cartels. The heartfelt story sends ripples through the community, and the paper receives grateful letters from the families of other kidnapped girls—and death threats warning her to drop her investigation. Meanwhile, Emiliano is prospering after his foray into petty thefts and subsequent capture ushered him under the wing of Brother Patricio, the leader of his explorer club, the Jiparis, and his soccer coach. Emiliano's a star soccer player and has started a side business selling some Jiparis' artisan crafts to shop owners. Despite this, he's still too poor to date his crush, Perla Rubi, so when he's tempted into the same web of criminals that are c oming after Sara and have taken Linda, the pull of wealth and a future with Perla Rubi is stronger than his need to do the right thing. Stork deftly writes criminals who aren't monsters but men who do monstrous things, and while his understanding of Emiliano's coming-of-age is fully engaging, he really impresses with his evocation of Sara's need to navigate the advances of men she knows and doesn't know and the powerful women equally dangerous to her. A tense thriller elevated by Stork's nuanced writing and empathy for every character, including the villains—superb. (Thriller. 12-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Sara clicks on the third e-mail and her heart stops. The subject line says puchi. That's Linda and Sara's secret word.Heart racing now, Sara clicks on the attachment. It's a picture. It isn't Linda, but another beautiful young woman, about sixteen or seventeen, grimacing as if she smells something bad. She's sitting in what looks like a nightclub booth, next to an older man whose bald head has fallen to his chest as if he's passed out. On the table in front of them are an empty bottle of expensive Scotch whiskey and two thick crystal glasses. Next to the man is an ashtray with a cigarette still burning. Everything looks expensive in a cheap kind of way. The picture is off-center, rushed, like someone got up, leaving his cell phone behind, and someone else snapped a picture and sent it.Someone else. Linda. Linda knew that one of Sara's jobs at El Sol is checking the hotline. And only Linda would use "puchi" for the old man.Sara's head spins. She doesn't recognize the nightclub, but she doesn't go to places like that often. And this wouldn't be just any club, otherwise Linda would come home. This must be a place where girls are kept against their will. If Linda was at the table with the puchi guy, she must be kept by these men too.Then she realizes: Someone deleted the hotline e-mails. That means the criminals know Linda sent the e-mail. The thought of what they might do to her takes Sara's breath away.She calls Ernesto. "Hey," she says, struggling to keep her voice calm. "Any way you and the Jacqueros can find out who the guy in the picture is?""Hold on. Okay, I'm looking at it now. It's kind of hard to see his face. I'll send it to my guys. There's a ring on his finger that might help. That e-mail address is clearly an alias. We'll see if we can trace it. What are you thinking? Is the girl in the picture a Desaparecida?""I'm about to check the files now. She looks familiar for some reason. But the e-mail was definitely sent by my friend Linda." Sara swallows. "You know, the one I talk about all the time.""You positive?""Puchi was a special code word we used. Ernesto, this is really serious and... urgent," she says. "The bad people know the e-mail was sent. They had someone in here delete it. So Linda and the other girl-""I know," he interrupts. "I know what that means."

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