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Diego's Crossing

Categories: Children's Fiction
Interest Age: 12+
Grade: 8+
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: W.9-10.4,6,7,8,9,10

Hardcover : 9781554517572, 152 pages, August 2015 , 7.80" x 5.24"
Paperback : 9781554517565, 152 pages, August 2015 , 7.46" x 5.01"


A young man is on a dangerous mission that will secure his future … or leave him dead.

Seventeen-year-old Diego dreams of a brighter future. His small town near the Mexican-United States border has been ravaged by the drug war, and the newspaper headlines are filled with body counts. Diego worries about his parents, particularly his tenderhearted father. Their road trips in his dad’s beloved, rusty Datsun are the only times the family can truly be carefree.

One day, Diego’s older brother Ernesto—the town’s golden boy—shows up in a tricked-out Chevy Silverado. Diego is fully aware of what no one is willing to openly admit: Ernesto is a gangster. Diego manages to avoid his brother, until he discovers Ernesto badly beaten and unable to finish a drug run for a brutal gang. Then Diego does what he swore he would never do—deliver drugs across the border.

With danger closing in from all sides—from the drug cartel threatening his family to the vigilant border officers suspicious of everyone who looks Mexican to the volatile buyers waiting for their goods—Diego desperately tries to finish his journey.

Once he successfully delivers the drugs, Diego is faced with yet another choice. He has proven to be a valuable asset to the drug cartel who wants him to become one of their own. Does he risk everything for their big but risky paydays, or does he walk away back to his small town of little opportunity?

Hough’s writing is sophisticated and vibrant. With all the suspense of a fast-paced movie, this gripping novel about Diego’s treacherous journey across borders, is also a moving story about a boy’s crossing into manhood.


  • Runner-up, Eric Hoffer Award, 1st Runner-Up 2016
  • Nominated, In the Margins Book Award nomination, Library Services for Youth in Custody 2016
  • Nominated, Top 10 Multicultural Fiction for Youth List, Booklist 2016
  • Short-listed, Arthur Ellis Award finalist, Crime Writers of Canada 2016


“This short page-turner will appeal to reluctant readers and those looking to read unique, high-stakes YA.”

- School Library Journal, 09/15

“Descriptive and impressive . . . This gripping, slim novel is a perfect choice for reluctant teen readers or those who like their realistic fiction on the gritty side.”

- Booklist, *starred review, 10/15