Parents' Guide to

The Only Road

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Harrowing, heartfelt tale of Central American teen refugees.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 11+

Intense, but Hopeful

This book is gripping, suspenseful, and realistic. Having known a child who escaped to the U.S. from Central America, I think that it is a realistic and timely portrayal. This story needs to be told, and the thoughtful way in which the author does so, emphasizing the main character's resilience and hope, is appropriate for upper elementary/middle school aged children. I think it is important that adults discuss the book with their child as they read, as there will inevitably be questions and concerns that are raised by your child.
age 14+

Too dark and graphic for my kids now but a wonderful book for teens

This book was given to my children (age 9 and 10) as a gift. From reading the blurb I could tell the subject matter might be disturbing. I read it myself first and decided it is not appropriate for them to read now. It is much too upsetting and graphic for them at this age. It includes some really traumatic and violent events that happen to the main characters and their friends. The subject matter is serious, dark and disturbing in and of itself -- children needing to leave their family and their home because of the threat of death from local gangs, facing violence and risk of death at nearly every stage of their journey. My kids, who are very sensitive and empathic, would find this disturbing. For myself, I found the book beautifully written, moving and powerful. I will give it to them in a few years, when they are 13 or 14 or older and more able to handle the very difficult subject matter and graphic, disturbing events.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (4 ):

As two teenage cousins take the perilous journey from Guatemala to the U.S., this harrowing, heartfelt tale brings to life the plight of thousands of young refugees and the dangers they face. Author Alexandra Diaz, herself a childhood immigrant from Cuba, vividly conveys what it feels like to leave all you've known and loved behind, probably forever, and to be on a dystopian journey with thousands of people, good and bad, in the same situation.

"Jaime felt as though he already knew too much. Friends at school talked; advertisements on television and on billboards warned of the horrors. In an illegal journey of four thousand kilometers, they were going to places more corrupt than his village, running from gangs more violent than the Alphas, going to a country where no one, except Tomás, wanted them there. Everywhere they'd go on this journey, they'd be unwelcome."

Book Details

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