The House of the Scorpion
Nancy Farmer, 2001
This was an interesting book, a tale of desperation and challenge staged against a science fiction future place. In this book, Mexican/US immigration has been resolved by creating a no-mans zone along the border, ruled by the drug lords. In exchange for policing the border, the organized crime leaders are given land and impunity to rule it – setting themselves up like kings in a manual labor 3rd world country.
Our protagonist is a young child, being held raised in a hut of one of the kitchen workers for the most powerful and old ‘Patron’. He isn’t allowed to go out and play, he’s locked in whenever his guardian isn’t around (most of the time) and he doesn’t know who his parents are, or where he came from. But things start to change when he escapes one day and finds the main villa of the ruler of the area – and learns he’s different from everybody else – and to some, a monster.