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Authors: Malín Alegría

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F
abiola stood in front of a two-story, Spanish-style, million-dollar home. She'd heard rumors that celebrity country singers and Mexican movie stars lived in this neighborhood, and secretly hoped to see someone famous. The splattering sound of water from the huge concrete fountain overpowered the chattering mockingbirds hidden inside the canopy of palm trees that encircled the estate.

Fabi took a deep breath to calm her nerves, combed her fingers through her loose hair, and pushed the doorbell. A dog started to bark inside. Through the stained-glass double doors she could see a shadowy figure jumping around. “Coming!” a voice called out over the noise.

Melodee Stanton opened the door. She flinched, and then made a disgusted expression as she said, “Oh, it's you.” She was holding her mini Chihuahua in her arms. The dog, wearing a sparkly collar, snarled loudly at Fabi.

“Hi, Melodee,” Fabi said, feeling her heart race. “I just came over to thank you.”

“For what?”

Fabi could feel her face getting hot. Had she made a mistake? “For the video you sent me.”

Melodee rolled her eyes. “I don't know what you've been smokin', but I didn't send anything. I don't even know your stupid phone number.”

“I must have made a mistake.”

“Yes, you obviously did.”

“I'm sorry to bother you.”

“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes again and started to close the door.

But Fabiola grabbed on to the handle to stop her. “Oh, and I'm sorry about Dex. I know he meant a lot to you.”

“That fool.” Melodee made a “whatever” gesture with her hand. “Military school will be good for him. Teach him some manners. Now, I would love to stand here and chat all day, but I have better things to do.”

“Yeah, sure. Well, thanks, anyway.” Fabiola waved as she walked away. She didn't quite understand what had happened, but she was glad she'd at least tried to do the right thing by coming over here.

Fabiola Garza walked slowly toward her cousin's truck down the street. She could feel Melodee Stanton's eyes on her back. Looking forward, she noticed dark thundering clouds threatening to bring heavy showers.

She didn't know what the future held for her in this crazy small town, but she was ready to take it on.

B
order Town owes its existence to all the people who believe in multicultural teen literature. First, I would like to acknowledge and thank my fabulous agent and friend, Stephanie Von Borstel. I also thank my amazing editor, Amanda Maciel, and the entire Scholastic team for their enthusiastic support, trust, and commitment to this series. I wish to thank my super-cool
familia
, Mom, Dad, Bill, Suni, and the rest of the Ramírez clan — you rock! And I thank my fantastic crew of readers, Tracy
“La Inspectora”
Baxter, Hermilo
“El Guapo”
Guzman III, and Matthew
“El Ojo”
Armburst.

This book would not be possible without the love and support of friends, teachers, librarians, and students of the Rio Grande Valley. I specifically wish to acknowledge Elizabeth Muñoz, Liza Lara, Juan and Maria Elena Ovalle,
la familia Avila
, Cynthia Perales, Moses Castillo, and Sarah Cuadra. Thank you for sharing your homes, your stories, and your
Valle conmigo
.

abuelita
: grandma

Ándale
: Go. / Hurry up. / Move.

Aquí es
: Here it is. / It's here.

basta
: enough

carne asada
: grilled steak

cárteles
: short for “drug cartel”; a criminal organization that promotes and transports illegal drugs

chanclas
: flip-flops, sandals, slippers

chifladas
: crazy, wild, hootchie

chile con carne
: meat with red chili pepper sauce

comadre
: a good woman friend

comal
: cooking plate, skillet

Con esa gente no se juega
: You don't play around with those people.

conjunto
: literally “group”; a musical group, usually a Norteño or Tex-Mex musical group

copete
: pompadour; hair styled to stand up above forehead

diablo
: devil

Dos Rios
: Two Rivers

el valle
: the valley

En el nombre del Padre
: literally “In the name of the Father”; the Lord's Prayer

Estás loca
: You're out of your mind.

fresas
: literally “strawberries”; also someone who is a snob, stuck-up, upper class

gorda
: chubby

guapa
: pretty, elegant woman

huercos
: literally “pigs”; used to refer to kids

la lechuza
: literally “owl”; witches who transform into owls/birds; if you see one it's a bad omen and means someone's going to die

la mafia
: Mexican Mafia

la pulga
: flea market

la Santa Muerte
: Saint Death

limpia
: cleaning, cleansing (physical or spiritual)

los Dedos del Valle
: literally “the Fingers of the Valley”; name implies a good accordionist

maleducada
: literally “badly raised”; rude

mentirosa
: liar

menudo
: tripe stew

mija
: short for “
mi hija
” — my daughter

mojaditos
: literally means “little wet ones”; used to refer to undocumented immigrants

nada
: nothing, a nobody

norteño
: northern Mexican cowboy style

pan dulce
: sweet bread

picante
: spicy, hot, racy

piruja
: loose woman, floozie, prostitute

Por el árbol se conoce el fruto
: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

quinceañera
: literally “15-year-old”; commonly refers to Sweet 15 birthday party

raspas
: short for “
raspados
”; shaved ice with flavored syrup

sinvergüenza
: shameless

tapada
: stopped up, constipated

tapón
: plug, stopper

tía
: aunt

un viejo amor
: an old love, lover, flame

Melodee began to laugh, but then stopped. She stared Fabi in the eye, as if trying to drill a hole to the truth. “All right,” she said with a nod. “You think your quince will be better than mine? It's on. You and me.” She pointed to Fabi. “We'll have a quinceañera competition. And everyone here will vote.”

Fabi felt the blood drain from her face. She never wanted a quinceañera in the first place. Now she had to have one — and not just any quinceañera. Fabi had to have the biggest, best quince the Valley had ever seen.

 

MALÍN ALEGRÍA is the author of
Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico
and
Estrella's Quinceañera
. Malín grew up in San Francisco, California, and lives there now, where she teaches, writes, and is hard at work playing in dirt. To learn more about her and her books, visit her online at
www.malinalegria.com
.

BOOK: Crossing the Line
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