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In 1999, 17-year-old Francisco thinks he’s got it rough in his family’s cramped home, where his father continually encourages him to study hard and make something of his life. But when his father is arrested on trumped-up drug charges under Bolivia’s 1008 law, which unjustly targets poor and Indigenous people and lands them in prison indefinitely, Francisco realizes how good his life has been.

With the loss of his father’s income, Francisco and his younger sister, Pilar, have no choice but to move into the prison—a place where violence and danger constantly lurk—with their father.

Each day, Francisco, Pilar, and the other prison kids are allowed to leave the prison and go to school, returning in the evening before the gates are locked. Caught between two worlds, Francisco experiences discrimination and isolation as well as a growing love for his family, an intensifying respect for his father’s Indigenous culture, and a deepening resolve to understand the law that was destroying the lives of many people “whose only crime is being too poor to afford a lawyer.”

This gripping, informative young adult novel offers insight into a world where injustice, hatred, and pain are juxtaposed with hope, love, and courage, a world gasping for Christ’s healing power. Ages 14 and up. (Philomel)

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