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What is the Summer Common Reading for Fall 2012?

The Summer Common Reading for Fall 2012 is The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea.

What is the book about?

The Devil’s Highway is honored as one of the most powerful analytical reports in recent years. Mr. Urrea follows the journey of twenty-six men who attempted to cross the Mexican border into the Arizona desert-commonly referred to as The Devil’s Highway-in May 2001. The journey would later end in the largest United States/Mexico border death event in history. The Devil’s Highway is a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist and is a winner of the Lannan Literary Award. Mr. Urrea is also a best-selling author of thirteen books and a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. Mr. Urrea is the Fall 2012 Convocation keynote speaker and will also host a meet and greet event for the UTSA community.

Is it mandatory to read the Summer Common Reading?

The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea is a required reading for all incoming first-year students.

When do I need to have the book read by?

All first-year students need to have the book read by August 27th, 2012-the day of Convocation.

Why does UTSA have a Summer Common Reading?

UTSA and Learning Communities initiate the Summer Common Reading Program for all first-year students. This initiative allows our newest Roadrunners to build an academic and social community at UTSA, and provides an opportunity for students to engage in meaningful discussion with peers and colleagues.

Where can I get the book?

The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and can be found at most book stores and online book retailers. The University of Texas at San Antonio’s bookstores (Main Campus and Downtown Campus) is guaranteed to have copies. UTSA’s libraries also have several copies on reserve and most city public libraries have the book available for check out. Should you have difficulty acquiring a copy of the book, please contact Jessica Avalos-Alvarez by phone at 210.458.7509 or by email at

What other books has the author written?

Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of thirteen books which include Queen of America, Into the Beautiful North, Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush, and The Hummingbird’s Daughter. For more information regarding works by Urrea, please visit his website at

What are some of the awards the book has received?

The Devil’s Highway is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the Lannan Literary Award as well as the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize.

What additional information do I need to know about the book?

The Devil’s Highway is available in hardcover, paperback, and electronic form. Audio books are also available through many online retailers. The book is approximately 230 pages and has sixteen chapters.

What other universities have used The Devil’s Highway as their common reading?

UTSA joins The University of Florida, The University of Washington, The University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University, American University and others in selecting The Devil’s Highway as a common reading.

What are the past UTSA Summer Common Readings?

Past UTSA Summer Common Readings include:
2010 and 2011- Farwell, My Subaru by Doug Fine
2008 and 2009- A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League by Ron Suskind
2007- Journey from the Land of No: Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran by Roya Hakakian
2006- Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation by John Phillip Santos
2004 and 2005- The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream by Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt with Lisa Frazier Page
2003- The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Will I be graded on the book?

If a student joins a Learning Community he/she will continue to use the book as one of the texts in his/her Freshman Seminar course. Also, programming during Fall 2012 will derive from themes of the book.

What if I have more questions?

If you have questions or comments please contact Jessica Avalos-Alvarez in the Learning Communities department by phone at 210.458.7509 or by email at