Santiago’s Road Home is an emotional middle grade about immigration, family, and determination. It has moments of sadness and joy all wrapped into one. I would highly recommend for anyone searching for a middle grade that tackles issues of immigration. Keep reading this book review of Santiago’s Road Home to find out all the reasons I liked this book.
The bed creaks under Santiago’s shivering body. They say a person’s life flashes by before dying. But it’s not his whole life. Just the events that led to this. The important ones, and the ones Santiago would rather forget.
The coins in Santiago’s hand are meant for the bus fare back to his abusive abuela’s house. Except he refuses to return; he won’t be missed. His future is uncertain until he meets the kind, maternal María Dolores and her young daughter, Alegría, who help Santiago decide what comes next: He will accompany them to el otro lado, the United States of America. They embark with little, just backpacks with water and a bit of food. To travel together will require trust from all parties, and Santiago is used to going it alone. None of the three travelers realizes that the journey through Mexico to the border is just the beginning of their story
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
CW: child abuse
Santiago’s Road Home is an emotional story about family, dreams, and love. Santiago is such a precious character who is empathetic, caring, and clever. I don’t have many words for this fantastic book. It’s every part of this emotional roller coaster that left me tense until the very end. There are moments of such joy, wonder, and sadness all wrapped into one. It’s not only about Santiago’s journey to the border, but also about being detained by ICE.
I am so excited that this story about immigration is coming to the middle grade audience. It’s a great conversation starter about justice and the immigration system. About privilege, dreams, and motivations. Santiago’s Road Home is emotional, at times heartbreaking, and full of moments of joy. I would recommend it along with other middle grade books that tackle tough issues like My Fate According to the Butterfly.