The Willa Literary Award Finalist for Original Softcover Fiction, 2019,
Awarded by the Women Writing the West
Girls from Centro
by Juni Fisher
North of the Mexican border,
survival has a price.
Teresa sells souvenirs to tourists in the marketplace in Centro, the heart of Nogales, and feeds
her father's fighting roosters. It's all she's ever known. When a letter promises a better life
in the United States for Teresa, her mother, and her sisters, they leave home under cover of
darkness, like so many before them.
Ana, a young, single mother, cooks at a convent and orphanage until she receives an offer she can't
refuse from a wealthy employer in Arizona. She walks away from the convent, her religion, and Centro,
swearing never to return.
For two women, a generation apart, a border fence and bone-littered desert are the least of what
separates subsisting in Sonora from surviving in Arizona.
In her debut novel, Fisher crafts a richly textured, multi-layered story of depravity, family bonds,
and sacrifice for women who dare to dream of life beyond borders.
Praise for Girls from Centro
Juni Fisher has written a story as bold as breaking news headlines covering the tragic perils
of hopeful, honest emigrants lost in border deserts in search of a better life in the United
States. The reader will have to turn pages quickly to figure out and follow the maze of
conflicting characters, both heroic and evil, in a spell-binding dash to the final five words.
There is more than one dramatic movie in this novel set in abusive American ranch lands, unholy
Catholic orphanages and frightening cults of early day Mormonism.
~ Warren Lerude, Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist
These gripping parallel stories are straight up and honest to the bone. I found each character
saturated with an authenticity I have rarely run across in border stories. Juni has a savage eye
for authentic detail that kind of takes your breath away. It also kind of pisses me off, but
that's the envy talking.
~ Bob Boze Bell, executive editor True West magazine
This may be Fisher's debut novel, but this is not the last we will hear from her. Many people talk
about writing a book 'someday.' This talented author sat down and did it, and did it well. She is a
powerful storyteller with an interesting twist of imagination. Readers from all walks of life will
find something to love about those girls from Centro who are just trying to get by, trying to make
a life. I look forward to having more Fisher books on my shelf someday.
~ Amy Hale Auker, author of The Story is the Thing and Ordinary Skin
Juni Fisher unveils her formidable storytelling skills while blending prose and poetry in Girls
from Centro. She adeptly builds suspense in a type of handmaid's tale, that's not from some
dystopian future, but from the recent past. Her love and knowledge of nature and the Southwest
~ Phil Lewis, retired editor, Scripps Howard Newspapers
Author JA Fisher delivers in this, her debut novel. A well crafted story of generations of women
struggling to survive the seedy world of human trafficking and cult religion. Each character
introduction is woven in a way that leaves the reader hungry to see where the character fits as the
pattern of the story reveals itself. This book is a page-turner that I recommend to anyone who likes
a well executed read.
~ Mary Matli, winner of The Georgie Sicking Poetry Award
Juni Fisher's superb tale of love, betrayal, tragedy and triumph, though set in the recent past, is
as vivid and relevant as today's headlines from the Arizona border. Beautifully written and ingeniously
structured, it is a slam-dunk winner.
~ Ranger Doug, author and songwriter
Juni Fisher is a multi-award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer. She's the Western Music
Association's (WMA) Entertainer of the Year, Four-time Female Performer of the Year, (WMA and
AWA), three-time Song of the Year winner, and is a two-time True West Magazine Best Solo Musician.
Juni was the first woman to win the National Cowboy Museum's Wrangler Award in 2009 for her
landmark CD, Gone For Colorado, which was also the 2009 WMA Album of the year. Her songs have
appeared in feature film and documentary sound tracks and have been recorded by artists in folk
and western music circles.
Before embarking on writing her first full length novel, she had articles published in Equus
Magazine, The Trout Unlimited Newsreel, The Western Way, and True West Magazine.
Fisher splits her time between the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee, and her hometown in Tulare
County, in central California. When she's on the west coast between concert tours, she rides and
shows her cow horse, nicknamed Dee Jay, who sports Juni's 2NZ (which reads 'tunes') brand on her hip.
And when she takes an incognito break from the road with husband Rusty, they head for places where
waters run clear and cold, and trout rise to well-tied flies. She has a wicked double haul cast and
has been known to have to be coaxed out of the water at the end of the day. After all, she is a Fisher.
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