Into the Beautiful North

by Luis Alberto Urrea

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Into the Beautiful North is Mexican-American author Luís Alberto Urrea's 2009 novel about a girl who attempts to recruit a group of men to defend her town, Tres Camarones.

Nayeli is the story's protagonist. A nineteen-year-old Mexican girl, Nayeli works at a taco shop in Tres Camarones. Nayeli feels confined by the small town in which she's lived her entire life and longs to travel. Urrea writes that "she was eager to see a concert, ride a train, wear fancy clothes, and sip exotic coffees on a snowy boulevards." When bandidos descend on the village, it is Nayeli who leads her friends in a journey to the United States to recruit an army to fight them.

Joining Nayeli on her quest are her friends: the academic-minded Yolo, the rebellious goth Vampi, and fellow aspiring cosmopolitan Tacho. They are funded by another character, Aunt Irma, who is the mayor of Tres Camarones and Nayeli's aunt.

Other characters in the novel include the fighter Atomiko and the bandido leader Scarface, the latter being the story's leading antagonist.

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