You wouldn’t know it from the title or the cover, but “Into the Beautiful North” is weird and hilarious.
The beginning was a little slow for me but after the action picked up, I enjoyed it immensely. We start off in a small Mexican town in the state of Sinaloa called “Tres Camarones”, (Three shrimps). The town’s residents are mostly women and children because all the men long ago went north to the United States for work.
Our main characters are a trio of teenage girls, Nayeli, Yolo and Veronica, who mostly goes by the nickname “la vampira”, (the vampire) since she’s goth… (Told you, it’s weird. If you’re expecting the stereotypical Mexican characters in the stereotypical Mexican setting, this book is not for you!)
The three girls have one more friend, a teenage boy named “Tacho”, (my favorite character), who happens to be gay. His run in with the Border Patrol still has me giggling when I think of it.
Well, because of the lack of men in the town, it is under threat of being taken over by narcos, (drug traffickers). Nayeli hatches a plan to go to the United States and bring back Mexican men to defend their town. (With the dual purpose of finding her father who sent a post card from Illinois years ago and never came back.)
Luis Alberto Urrea weaves a fun and unique tale with one-of-a-kind characters, laugh-out-loud humor, and some surprisingly gorgeous analogies while still giving us a glimpse of real border life. I really loved this story and I look forward to reading Urrea’s other works. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Mexico, the Spanish language or immigration who is looking for something different and funny in the genre.