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The Border Book By Steve

The Border

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

Crack. Crack. Crack.

Nor 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…

Read The Border On

Consider The Border for your book club or classroom discussion.  Download a discussion guide here. Steve does book club and school visits (both live and virtual). Email to schedule.

Awards for the Border


FINALIST — Joan F Kaywell Books Saves Lives Award


WINNER – LASR Book of the Month

Praise for The Border

  • Winner: Long and Short Reviews YA Book of the Month. Voted by readers, September 2017.

  • Finalist: 2018 Joan F. Kaywell “Books Save Lives” Award

  • “This is a thought-provoking adrenaline rush sure to satisfy fans of action and adventure.” – Booklist

  • “This book is both eye-opening and terrifying. Schafer creates a compelling story about survival and wanting to create a better life far away from the violent Mexican drug cartel… Filled with chase scenes, dangerous situations, and a strange love story, the plot moves along at a rapid-fire pace and keeps the reader engaged.” – School Library Connection

  • “This story is timely and controversial because it looks at the U.S./Mexico border issue on a humane level, not a political one. Schafer’s cast of characters provides young adult readers with a variety of relatable characters to root for as he aptly demonstrates the ruthless realities facing those who cross the border between the two countries.” – VOYA Magazine

  • “Thrilling…often brilliant.” – Kirkus Reviews.

  • “Steve Schafer walks us through the ebbs and flows in the lives of ordinary immigrants, the dramatic moments at the border, the fear, the yearnings, and the hope for a better future. An engrossing narrative delivered in trepidant prose.” –  Mauro Guillen, Director of the Lauder Institute at The University of Pennsylvania

  • “Teenagers facing one of the most arduous, life-threatening journeys any person can endure is elegantly presented in this important book.  Jolted from their home country by violence and thrown into an escape to save their lives, the four young people in this powerful story find hardship and humanity, ruthlessness and compassion without ever losing their own sense of optimism, hope, love, and goodness.  Like many other refugees and immigrants, these young people did not want to leave their homes and families, the place of belonging.  Rather, they were forced into seeking safety and security in el norte.  In this book, Schafer puts a face on immigrants, especially young ones, a face that is missing in the national debate about immigration reform.  This book can inspire our future voters to the empathy for those who come searching for safety.” – Luis Zayas, Dean of the School of Social Work at The University of Texas

  • “In his book The Border, Steve Schafer deftly brings to life the drama of unauthorized border crossing and gives a human face to those often dismissed simply as “illegals.” The story of how four young people compelled by circumstances beyond their control struggled and survived a perilous crossing of the Sonoran desert into the United Sates restores humanity and dignity to the 11 million undocumented migrants who now live among us.” – Douglass Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University

  • “Steve Schafer has given voice to a tragically common, but far too-infrequently told narrative of reality in towns and villages in Mexico…Lest anyone think Steve Schafer’s account is exaggeration, I can attest to the realistic depiction he provides of innocent children, adults and families caught up in the dystopia of cartel-controlled areas in Mexico. I have provided legal representation to dozens of asylum seekers from Mexico who have the same horrific story to tell.” – Vanna Slaughter, Director of Catholic Charities of Dallas.

  • “A riveting story of survival and perseverance along the unforgiving frontier of the Sonoran desert.” – Summit Daily

Check out reader reviews on Goodreads here and Amazon here.