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Iron River

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The train tracks bisecting San Gabriel, California, separate Manuel's Mexican American neighborhood from the area's Anglo population. It is also the iron river bringing drifters to town, and it makes a dangerous playground for Manuel and his friends. In a pivotal year, 1958, the eighth-grader also views it as a road leading outward as his world expands in disturbing ways. A light like a powerful train beacon shines on prejudice, family demons, and a corrupt local police officer who preys on minorities. Acosta’s intricate plot illustrates childhood naiveté and guilt—Manuel and his friends are convinced they accidentally killed a hobo who fell from a train, a belief exploited by a bad cop. It also gives readers a detailed portrait of a time and place connected in important ways to the present. Manuel, nicknamed Manon-Fire because of a birthmark and red hair, is a worthy and believable hero who will intrigue thoughtful teens as he fights to stand for truth and himself. A powerful debut.
- Karen Cruze, September 18, 2018  Visit Website

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