The Border by Steve Schafer

The Border

The Border by Steve Schafer

Expected Publication: September 5th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

One moment changed their lives forever.

A band plays, glasses clink, and four teens sneak into the Mexican desert, the hum of celebration receding behind them.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

Not fireworks―gunshots. The music stops. And Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys are powerless as the lives they once knew are taken from them.

Then they are seen by the gunmen. They run. Except they have nowhere to go. The narcos responsible for their families’ murders have put out a reward for the teens’ capture. Staying in Mexico is certain death, but attempting to cross the border through an unforgiving desert may be as deadly as the secrets they are trying to escape…

Note: I received an ARC copy of this from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.

I had seen this book floating around on Netgalley before I was approached by Sourcebooks Fire in an email asking me if I would be willing to review it. I wasn’t entirely sure whether it was going to be my kind of thing, which is why I hadn’t gone and grabbed a copy on my own. Unfortunately, this wasn’t my kind of thing! I ended up DNFing this book at around 35% after a variety of issues.

I think the biggest issue I had with this book was the portrayal of the main character. For the first 25%, I actually thought I was reading from the perspective of a female! I was shocked to find out that this wasn’t the case and I still have no real idea as to what our MC is called. It was never really made clear who they are, what they do etc. I feel like a bit more of a background was needed into the family etc. before the author decided to dive into the events of this book. I struggled to connect with the MC on a level where I could empathise with them – along with the other characters. I didn’t really see enough of Gladys to really form any kind of bond with her and Marcos was too secretive for me. I did like the friendship between the MC and his best friend/cousin!

I also struggled to get into the plot itself. I liked the concept of this book, but I felt like the execution was too dragged out – even with the action moments that were going on in between. I think more information into the gang and why they targeted the family was needed to help the plot along. A lot of it felt extremely rushed without really giving much information other than what they were planning to do in that moment.

Another issue I had with this book was the Mexican words that were used every now and again. Sometimes they were repeated in English so we knew what was said, whilst there were other times where they weren’t repeated. If I am reading, I don’t want to have to keep stopping to translate something because it takes away from the story itself and proves to be a distraction from the book in the long run.

All in all, I went into this unsure about whether or not it was really going to be my kind of thing and it turned out that it wasn’t. I was hoping that it was going to surprise me and I would absolutely love it. I gave this book 1/5 stars.