In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.
As the revolution’s impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía’s parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.
Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?
Based on the real events of Operation Pedro Pan where over 14,000 Cuban children were sent to the U.S. in the two year period between 1960-1962, this novel depicts the pain of losing one’s homeland and showcases the generosity of the American spirit.
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Top Ten Indie Next Book
Gonzalez enters the literary scene with this exceptional historical novel – Kirkus Reviews
Christina Diaz Gonzalez captures the fervor, uncertainty and fear of the times through Lucía’s first-person perspective and the newspaper headlines that begin each chapter…a compelling first novel. – Washington Post
Debut author Gonzalez excels at highlighting the cultural difficulties… memorable heroine and supporting cast offer a moving portrait of resilience and reinvention – Publisher’s Weekly
An insightful window into the aspect of recent history known as Pedro Pan – Denver Post
Gonzalez deals effectively with separation, culture shock, homesickness, uncertainty and identity as she captures what is also a grand adventure – resilient kids taking to a new way of life. – San Francisco Chronicle
Well-written novel has a thoroughly believable protagonist and well-chosen period details… it could generate some excellent classroom discussions – School Library Journal
Through the eyes of (the) likable young narrator, readers will understand a compelling part of history. Kudos to Christina Diaz Gonzalez for sharing her family’s story, and for telling it so well. – Christian Science Monitor