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Spare Parts

Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Four undocumented Mexican American students, two great teachers, one robot-building contest . . . and a major motion picture

In 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where they attended an underfunded public high school. No one had ever suggested to Oscar, Cristian, Luis, or Lorenzo that they might amount to much—but two inspiring science teachers had convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot.
And build a robot they did. Their robot wasn't pretty, especially compared to those of the competition. They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT backed by a $10,000 grant from ExxonMobil. The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts. This was never a level competition—and yet, against all odds . . . they won!
But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story—which became a key inspiration to the DREAMers movement—will go on to include first-generation college graduations, deportation, bean-picking in Mexico, and service in Afghanistan.
Joshua Davis's Spare Parts is a story about overcoming insurmountable odds and four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country—even as the country tried to kick them out.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 06, 2014 – Davis (Entrenched) offers a forceful portrait of four Mexican American teens from an impoverished neighborhood in Phoenix who became engineers and won first place in a national NASA-sponsored robotics competition. Despite their meager funds and lack of experience, these high school students, with the support of two teachers, succeed beyond all expectations, defeating well-funded teams like the one from MIT. Throughout the book, Davis gives almost equal time to the rising tide of anti-immigrant feeling in Arizona and around the nation. These young men, all but one of who are undocumented, are painfully aware that their place in the spotlight may garner unwanted scrutiny by immigration officials. Despite their amazing win, their options continue to be severely constrained. The final chapters, which document what happened after the accolades and fanfare faded, really capture the character of these young men. Davis takes what could have been another feel-good story of triumphant underdogs and raises the stakes by examining the difficulties of these young immigrants in the context of the societal systems that they briefly and temporarily overcame.

Customer Reviews

Phenomenal Read!

I just completed reading the book today for a summer program I am participating in for the college I attend and it's definitely worthwhile. The end is summed up very well which makes me want to read more books at the hands of Joshua Davis! If you're looking for a story that has a climax and an unexpected end, this is it! I absolutely would recommend this book on any day especially since our communities and societies today are growing in Hispanic heritages! Good reading.....!

Awesome story 👍

Highly recommend!

What's wrong with us?

This is a story of desire and diligence. It's also a story family and love and devotion.
It's a quick read but it's very powerful.

Spare Parts
View in iTunes
  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Dec 02, 2014
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings