Crossing the Wire

Crossing the Wire

by Will Hobbs


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In this riveting, action-packed novel from award-winning author Will Hobbs, a teenage boy hoping to help his loved ones must fight for his life as he makes the dangerous journey across the Mexican border into the United States.

When falling crop prices threaten his family with starvation, fifteen-year-old Victor Flores heads north in an attempt to "cross the wire" from Mexico into America so he can find work and help ease the finances at home.

But with no coyote money to pay the smugglers who sneak illegal workers across the border, Victor struggles to survive as he jumps trains, stows away on trucks, and hikes grueling miles through the Arizona desert.

Victor's passage is fraught with freezing cold, scorching heat, hunger, and dead ends. It's a gauntlet run by many attempting to cross the border, but few make it. Through Victor's desperate perseverance, Will Hobbs brings to life a story that is true for many, polarizing for some, but life-changing for all who read it.

Acclaim for Crossing the Wire includes the following: New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, Junior Library Guild Selection, Americas Awards Commended Title, Heartland Award, Southwest Book Award, and Notable Books for Global Society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060741402
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/10/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 46,554
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.45(d)
Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Will Hobbs is the award-winning author of nineteen novels, including Far North, Crossing the Wire, and Take Me to the River.

Never Say Die began with the author's eleven-day raft trip in 2003 down the Firth River on the north slope of Canada's Yukon Territory. Ever since, Will has been closely following what scientists and Native hunters are reporting about climate change in the Arctic. When the first grolar bear turned up in the Canadian Arctic, he began to imagine one in a story set on the Firth River.

A graduate of Stanford University, Will lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado.

Read an Excerpt

Crossing the Wire

By Will Hobbs

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Will Hobbs
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060741392

Chapter One

Old Friends

The end was coming, but I didn't see it coming.

I was done for the day. The sun had set, my shovel was on my shoulder, and I was walking up the path to the village. As I passed under a high stone wall, my mind only on my empty stomach, a shadowy figure swooped down on me with a shriek that could have raised the dead. I let out a yelp and leaped out of the way.

"Scared you," cried my best friend, Rico Rivera. "Scared you bad, Victor Flores."

I shook my shovel at him. "'Mano, you're lucky I didn't attack you with this."

"What did you think I was?"

"A flying cow, you maniac."

"You should have heard yourself! You squealed like a pig!"

I could only laugh. It had been a long time since Rico had pulled a trick like this. This was the way it used to be with Rico and me, until three years ago, when Rico started trade school in the city of Silao. He lived there now with his sister, whose husband worked at the General Motors plant. Sometimes Rico came home to the village on weekends, but I wouldn't always see him. We were fifteen years old now, with life pulling us in different directions, but we still called each other 'mano. We were hermanos in our hearts. Actual brothers couldn't have grown up much closer.

Rico puthis arm around my shoulder. "I have something to tell you, Victor." Suddenly he wasn't joking around. "Follow me," Rico said gravely. "I have a secret to show you."

"You know how I hate secrets. I thought there weren't any between us."

"A couple of minutes, and there won't be."

Dusk was deepening as Rico led me past the village church, past the cemetery and the dirt field where we'd played futbol and beisbol ever since I could remember. I followed my friend to the old village, abandoned after an earthquake hundreds of years before. All that remained, overgrown with brush, vines, and cactus, were the stone walls built to hold back the hillside. The moon was up, but its light was weak and eerie. This was a place to stay away from.

Rico paused where one of these ancient walls was especially thick with giant prickly pear. "We have to crawl underneath the cactus," he announced.

I wasn't so sure.

"It should be easy for you, Victor. C'mon, Tortuga."

Only Rico called me Turtle. It was a little joke of his. With his long legs, he'd always been the better sprinter, but not by much. "Turtle," though, was only partly about running. Mostly it had to do with my cautiousness.

Here and now, I had reason to be cautious. This was where my four sisters collected cactus fruit and also the pads for roasting as nopales. Teresa, the oldest of my sisters, always carried a stick on account of the rattlesnakes.

Unlike Rico, I was afraid of rattlesnakes. "It's too murky to be crawling in there," I told him.

"I know what you're afraid of, but it's the middle of March. They haven't come out yet. Just follow me."

As always, Rico went first. Once inside, we sat next to each other, our backs to the ancient wall. "Just like the old days," Rico said.

I liked hearing him say that, but it wasn't like Rico to be sentimental. What was this all about? Maybe it was going to be a trick after all. There would be no secret.

"Watch this," Rico said as he reached into a crevice and brought out a small glass jar. With a gleam in his eye, he placed it in my hand. In the patchy moonlight, I had to bring the jar close to my face to make out what was inside. It was a roll of money, and not pesos. American greenbacks, with the number 100 showing. "How much?" I gasped.

"There are fifteen of those. You're looking at one thousand, five hundred American dollars."

I was astounded. In school I had learned to convert kilos to pounds and kilometers to miles. But pesos to dollars was different, floating up and down. The last I heard, it was eleven to one. That meant this was more than sixteen thousand pesos. My family could get by for more than a year on this much money. "I don't understand," I said. "Your parents gave it to you?"

"My parents? Did you hit your head, 'mano?"

"Did you win the lottery? Is the money yours, Rico?"

"It's mine. It's from one of my brothers in the States. It's my coyote money."

The expression meant only one thing. Coyotes were the smugglers who took people across the border to El Norte.

It didn't seem possible. "You're leaving for the other side?"

"Yes, I'm leaving Mexico. I'm going to cross the wire. Destination, the United States of America."


Excerpted from Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs Copyright © 2006 by Will Hobbs. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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Crossing the Wire 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Crossing the wire pulled me in from the begining. Its emmotional but wild. I would recomend this book to everyone out there
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I was seven years old I asked my dad how did he come to the. U.S. he said that he came by a plane another thing he said was that there are people who come by boats or by jumping the border. I am in eight grade now and my English teacher miss, brown told us that we were going have group reading. She showed us few books but I was really intrastate in Crossing the Wire by: Will Hobbs. The book reminded me of when I asked my dad how did he come to the. U.S. In Crossing the Wire there are two teen boys Rico reveres and victor floras. Victor has to take care of his whole family. Victor has two sisters and one brother and his mom. Victor is poor and Rico is rich. Rico has 15 brother and sisters. and he the smallest one in his family. They both try to cross in to U.S. they have to struggle lot of stuff to get there. But will they make it to the land of opportunity? I liked the book Crossing the Wire. I really think this is a good book for every one. I would give 5 stars to this book. This is the best book I ever read in my life. This book thought me that people are wiling to stake their lives for money. The age I would recommend is up to 20 year old. The book would be the best for kids who are in to adventure books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books i have ever read. I loved how it went into the eyes of Victor Flores and his struggle to cross the border to make a living for his family. He was now the man of the house and after I read this book, I think he did a good job when taking responsibility of his family.
kbrunt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After his father's death, 15 year old Victor Flores is barely able to support his family by raising corn. When corn prices fall, he makes the decision to try to cross the border into the U.S. so he can send money home to his mother and siblings. The story is full of action and adventure as it tells the trials and tribulations of Victor in his quest to cross the border and find work in the U.S. Illegal immigration is a very real current issue and this story tells many of the risks taken to get across the border. Victor is involved in jumping on/off moving trains, thieves stealing from him, encountering the border patrol, rattlesnakes, lack of water in the desert, coyotes (human kind), and drug runners, to name a few. Strengths: I think young (and old) will find this a very easy read, full of real problems with believable characters. Because of all the action, it will keep you wanting more. Weaknesses: I personally didn't find any but it might be helpful if there was a "Spanish" dictionary page to refer to the Spanish terms used.
triciawiseman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was hard to put down. There was adventure throughout the book. Just when I thought the story would come to an end, the author wrote a new twist into the story.Strengths:-great description of events-different characters Weaknesses:-at some points, the events got a little long
tpeterchuck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a touching story of young Victor trying to make to the US to help his family in central Mexico. I thought it was well written and really put a human story behind the controversial issue of illegal immigration. I think one of it's strengths was the quick moving action of the story. I would have liked to have seen more of the aftermath of Victors new life, the book seemed to end too soon for me. Overall it was a good read.
jhunefeld on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Victor Flores heads north to make money for his poor campesino family. Not able to pay a coyote, he sets out on his own. After a failed attempt at crossing, he happens upon his best friend. The travel together as drug mules, escape from the group and narrowly avoid being killed by the drug leader. They arrive in AZ and work in the fields. Rico decides to return home to care for his aging parents, Victor remains doing farm work in WA to support his family.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Facing desperate poverty, Victor tries to get to America to find work to make money in order for his family to survive. With no money for a coyote, Victor must find his own way across the wire into America. Obstacles abound as Victor tries to stay optimistic as he faces many obstacles along the course of his journey. Although it felt a bit preachy at times and Rico was an annoying side-kick, the book was compelling and action-packed.
Twilight-fan_4life on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was really exciting. I never knew so much went into crossing the wire and i never really knew that those below the border went through so much to get to America. I think that this book is an exciting way to show those that are ignorant like myself. So if you'd like to know about stuff like this then be sure to read it. Besides that it's a page turner also. : )
Gina.Breuklander on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was not my favorite book by Will Hobbs. I enjoyed it and wanted to finish it although I didn't think about the characters much when I wasn't reading.As a strength, the storyline was interesting and I felt like I knew some of the struggles the main character went through. Will Hobbs did a good job researching when he wrote the book. It is a modern day concern.A weakness for me was the Spanish terms used in the book. I didn't necessarily know what all the words meant - there wasn't a glossary or word list. I just gathered meaning from the text.
cammykitty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Target audience: 10-14I read this because it is assigned to a 6th grade class I work with. The kids aren't very far into the book, but they are already reading ahead (and we're scolding them) and asking us for more books like this. I wish there were more books like this! It is both a high-interest adventure and a good non-judgmental look at the problems of illegal immigration. 15-year-old Rico is put in the awkward position of telling his friend's parents that his friend has left to cross the border to the United States. Rico thinks his friend is a crazy risk-taker, until he realizes that his families corn crop will not earn enough money to feed them. He decides he must go as well.Hobbs has written a well-researched page turner. It covers many of the realities around immigration without dumbing it down too much or making it too brutal for his young adult audience. Bravo, and thank you Mr. Hobbs.
tlwood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Victor Flores leads a desperately hard life with his family in a Mexican village. His father died several years before in an accident while working construction across the border. Victor struggles to support his family and be the man of the house but no matter how hard he works, it becomes impossible to make ends meet. He decides to go acrosst he border, like his dad used to do, and work to send money home to his mother and siblings. The story of Victor puts a human element into the contemporary issues of illegal imimigration today without taking a political stand. All sides are touched on and provides readers with realistic material that is sure to inspire deep thinking about the issue. A great read for young readers who are learning about the world we live in today.
Catnelson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fifteen-year-old Victor Flores journeys north in a desperate attempt to cross the Arizona border and find work in the United States to support his family in central Mexico.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes I mean to put onestar
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wendy Fregoso More than 1 year ago
Crossing the Wire Book Review/ Report The book “Crossing the Wire” was written by Will Hobbs and published by HarperCollins Publishers in New york in 2006. Most of the information researched and written about was within the US-Mexican Border and the States touching both sides of the border. It is a realistic fictional book of 214 pages for people of the age of 10 or older. Will Hobbs lives in Arizona and was a graduate of Stanford University. Also is an award-winning author for more the 15 novels for young readers. In which 7 of his books were chosen by the American Library Association as Best Books for Young Adults. Will Hobbs does a very well job introducing the character, setting and giving a background on the first book’s setting. Like in the line Victor says “ My parents had been caught up in the struggle of the poor to grow crops on land that belonged to the wealthy ”(Crossing the Wire: 12,13.)It showed how the family lived and why Viktor wanted to go to Mexico. This is one of the lines that lead to his decision on migrating to the US “Most of the fields lay fallow, abandoned by men working in El Norte or by families who had left for the cites”(Crossing the Wire: 121.) I enjoyed this book because it describes and tells about the hardship immigrants go through on a daily basis before, while and after crossing the border. Which is one of the book’s biggest strengths and what makes this book different compared to other books of this same content. Over all the from cover to cover the book was very interesting and showed and described with a lot of detail. Others who have never been in these situations will learn what immigrants have to go through and how they’re discriminated. Also how the whole family is impacted. Will Hobbs did a great job making the book feel like as if the reader were themselves going through the pain and all the heartache. by: Wendy Fregoso
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book puts th point across to people that mexivans can just go across the border and not even get in trouble. I had to read thos for school book it is so boring tha its pretty much ASKING you to be bored an not understand it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good. It was okay gets old after a while. :/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about fifteen year old Victor Flores. His family is threaten by staraytion. He is going to the United Stats to find work and send mony to the family. My favority espisod is when the police try to find the people that are trying to cross the border and he has to run away. I recommon this to other people who like the wild.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a very exciting book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But I heard it was good...
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