"Maybe in other cities in the world, a young woman can be one hour late and it isn't a cause for worry. In Juárez, that is simply not possible." Sara Zapata's best friend, Linda, went missing--she's now one of the Desaparecidas (Disappeared). Using her position at a local newspaper to tell Linda's story, Sara is badly shaken when a threat comes in to her bosses: "If you publish anything of Linda Fuentes we will kill your reporter and her family." For the first time, Sara realizes her journalism may put her mother and little brother, Emiliano, in danger. Still, Sara hasn't published a story about Linda in four months. Why threaten her now?

After a brush with the law, Brother Patricio saved Emiliano from jail. Channeling his anger into healthier outlets, Emiliano worked with Brother Patricio to found the Jiparis, "a Mexican version of the Boy Scouts." Through his Jipari work, Emiliano has his own business; he hopes the money he earns can help his family and help him win over crush Perla Rubi's wealthy family. But a chance meeting with Perla's father leads to a business proposal of which Emiliano isn't sure he wants to be a part. "There's no way to be successful in Mexico without getting dirty," Mr. Esmerelda reasons. "The best one can do is control the degree of dirt."

Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork (Marcelo in the Real World; The Memory of Light) is a gripping, timely tale of trafficking and the risks one must take to uncover truth. Juárez, alternately glittering and gritty, is "like a spiderweb. Every thread is connected directly or indirectly to every other thread." As Emiliano tentatively steps into the web and Sara desperately tries to stay out of it, readers will wonder whether either can escape. --Kyla Paterno, former children's and YA book buyer

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