Teen Book Review: Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher

Hey everyone, it’s Sarah!

This book has been waiting for me to read it for months. I finally got to it.


Title: Sanctuary

Authors: Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher


In the near future, a certain wall-obsessed president has been elected for his third term. Everyone is implanted with a chip that speaks to their citizenship status. Those without chips are considered illegal and are to be deported. To fight this system, some people have purchased black market chips. Vali, is one undocumented teen, who has a counterfeit chip. As tensions continue to get more deadly, California secedes from the rest of the United States and becomes a sanctuary for immigrants. Vali, her younger brother Ernesto, and her mom all secretly leave for California. However, very quickly, Vali’s mother’s chip malfunctions and she is captured by ICE. Vali and Ernesto go on without her, and the journey is treacherous. It is uncertain if the two will make it to California, and if there will be anything waiting for them once they get there.


This was a compelling novel. The only thing that was difficult it adjusting to the setting since it was set in the very near future, it loses a bit of believability. I can see parts of this novel happening in our society, even now. The varied experiences of undocumented people that were conveyed through the characters was very well done. This novel kept me guessing at every turn.


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