Book Review: Illegal

Book Review: IllegalIllegal by Bettina Restrepo
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 1st 2011
Pages: 272

Nora is on a desperate journey far away from home. When her father leaves their beloved Mexico in search of work, Nora fights to make sense of her loss while waiting for her father’s return and a better day. When the letters and money from her father stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must look for him in Texas. After a harrowing experience crossing the border, the two are all alone in a strange place called Houston. Now, Nora figures out how to survive while still aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and a quinceañera to mark her fifteenth birthday.

Bettina Restrepo’s powerful and deeply hopeful debut novel captures the challenges of one girl’s unique yet universal immigrant experience.


Nora's father stops sending money back to Mexico for her family, so her mother and her leave their grandmother behind to search for him. Nora learns that America is much different form her small town in Mexico. They luck out and find a couple who let them work for them. Only there is no sign of Nora's father. What has happened to him?

A heart-wrenching plot that made me cry and also a quick read. Definitely a great debut about those who cross the wire.

I fell in love with Nora. She was strong for a teenage girl and determined to reunite her family once and for all. It's nice to meet such a fantastic character.

Final Verdict: I think those of us that pay any attention to the new in America can relate to this novel.

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50 responses to “Book Review: Illegal

  1. Jenny N.

    Sounds good…and its heart wretching? Now I’m imagining all the bad things that could have happened to Nora’s dad.

  2. Sandee61

    I’m not sure what I’d do…probably try to find a legal way if there was one. It doesn’t sound like she has a choice, so I really am not sure what I’d do. It’s a scary thought and decision for such a young person, but I can understand why she would take that chance.

    Thank you for the entry in the giveaway for Illegal…now I’m really curious about it. It sounds like a really good read.

    Have a blessed day!


  3. Lee

    I would love the chance to win this book for my 14 year daughter and myself.
    My answer to the question would probably be No.
    I love my family but I am also a big chicken and scared to get in trouble with the law.

  4. I would most definitely cross the borders. I would do just about anything for my loved ones.

    I would love to win a copy of this novel, it sounds really fantastic. I’m from Germany originally, so this means a lot to me.

  5. Samantha

    Well of course I would cross the borders! Family means a lot to me and to let something as trivial as a BORDER stop our reunion is just… unthinkable. Besides, if I don’t do EVERYTHING that I can to find my family, then I’d feel guilty and ashamed of myself for the rest of my life… 🙁 Thanks for the awesome contest!!!

  6. cbrett60

    I would love to read this book.

    Would I cross a border to find my family. Yes I would. I love my family and I would do anything to save them.

  7. flashlight_reader

    Would I cross a border illegally to save my family? If I felt like my family was in danger, there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to save them. Crossing a border seems minor in that respect.

  8. alice priday

    hell yes i would. i would do anything to find my family if i was put in that situation. this book sounds wonderful. thanks for making it international

  9. Jamie @ Jamie's Bookshelf and Learning to be Frugal

    I think that I would cross the border to find my family. If you don’t have your family what have you got? Nothing really.

  10. Book Flame

    For my hubby and kids of course I would cross the border. The books sounds amazing I can’t wait to read it.

  11. linda2060

    I love my family and they mean a lot to me…but I’m not usually a rule breaker. I’d be really paranoid and scared of being caught though.
    The book sound awesome and I can’t wait to read it!

  12. Bookadicea

    My answer would be YES, I’ll do anything even if it has to be my life to put in danger just to save my family’s life because I owe a lot of things to them and above all I love them so much. I will do anything to make them safe even if it means conquering my own fear.

    Thanks! great giveaway!

    clarissa.bulatao at

  13. Chel

    Of course I would! I only have my mom and my little sister. I don’t know what I’m going to do without them.

    toprocrastinate @

  14. Gian Faye

    Yes, I would. Family means a lot to me. I can’t sit still and do nothing if I could do something.

    Gian Faye
    mynameisgianfaye *at* gmail *dot* com

  15. Misty

    It’s hard say because you never really know what you’d do in a situation (especially if you don’t speak the language or have money, etc), but I think I would. It’s a scary thought, though. I know people who have crossed borders illegally, and it’s terrifying.

  16. Would you cross a border illegal to find your family?

    Of course, without a doubt. I’d circle the Earth as many times as I needed to, if I had to. Anything for them.

  17. Mona

    I’ve been wanting to read this book. The premise sounds great and I like the cover.

    Yes, I would definitely cross the border illegally to find my family. Breaking the law is a small price to pay.

  18. Thais Pampado

    Yes, I would, because the love I have for my family knows no borders.


  19. Jaidis

    I would spend a small amount of time trying to find a legal way, unless danger was involved, and then I would most certainly do whatever was needed to save my family.

    JaidisShaw at yahoo dot com

  20. Sarwat

    i think when it is about your family then no rules or regulations matter. i would definitely try to overcome all hurdles even if it is crossing an illegal border to find my family.

  21. Christie

    This book sounds really good. I’d love to read it.
    There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for my family so the short answer is YES! I would cross the border illegally to find my family.

    swaggirl01 at gmail dot com

  22. That’s tough question to answer. I’m so law-abiding that the border guards would take one look at me and just know I’m up to something. However, I would definitely do it for my family

  23. If someone were to take one of my children or family members across a border without permission … definitely. Otherwise, just to find someone who may or may not be in trouble, probably not … I’m kinda skeered of jail! 🙂


  24. Sounds great, and I’d do whatever it took to find my family. I’d hope that crossing legally would be an option, but if not, I’d do what I had to do to find them!

    kpuleski at gmail dot com

  25. winnie

    Yes, I would definitely cross the border illegally for my family. Anything for them.

    Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂


  26. Dinda

    Yes, I would do anything for my family even if I have to cross the border illegally.


  27. Yes, I’d like to think that I would. I’d be scared out of my mind the entire time, but there are worse things. Like losing your family.

    Lovely, lovely giveaway, by the way! I’ve been wanting to read this one, and your review just reaffirmed it for me.

    lillyisabear (at) gmail (dot) com

  28. I think I’d try to get there legally, but if I couldn’t do it that way, then yes I would cross illegally. I’m sure it would be really tough though.

    dsym_06 at yahoo dot com

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