Crossing the wire--the wire being the border between Mexico and the United States. Always a risky thing to attempt, but after September 11, 2001, it is even more dangerous. Why do so many Mexicans try it—risk deportation, jail, and even death to reach el Norte? For the two fifteen-year-olds in this story, it was for entirely different reasons. Friends for a very long time, Rico and Victor both make the decision to go to el Norte, the United States. Rico--whose family has a nice home and although not rich, are not poor either--sees the United States as a place where people have beautiful homes with swimming pools and fancy cars. That is the life he wants and he leaves with the $1500 needed to pay the coyotes (smugglers) to help him across the border, leaving Victor behind. But Victor, the sole support of his family since his father's death, must find work that will pay enough that he can send money back to Mexico for his mother and siblings. He doesn't have the necessary $1500, so he is going to try to find a way on his own. Desperate to make it across, they both encounter danger from thieves, gangsters, drug runners, and rattlesnakes, not to mention the most formidable enemy of all--the desert.
As Americans, we frown upon those who cross the border illegally to find jobs in our country. Will Hobbs writes this story from Victor’s point of view to help us understand the desperate circumstances that leave many Mexicans no choice but to cross the wire for their family’s survival.