Dreams. They can be so hard to reach.
Camino Rios is a lucky girl. She lives in the Dominican Republic with her Tia. Tia is a healer and can seemingly pull off one miracle after another. She's so good at it that her niece, Camino, dreams of going to Columbia University in New York to major in pre-med.
The other girls around her aren't aiming so high. But the other girls around her don't have Camino's Papi who visits her every summer and sends her enough money to pay for her school tuition. Camino and Tia have things their neighbors don't have because of the money Papi can send.
Yahaira Rios lives in New York and doesn't really know how lucky she is. She's a rule follower and all of her report cards say, "Meets expectations." She doesn't do more than she needs to except when Papi taught her to play chess. That she was good at. Yahaira is satisfied to spend her time with Dre, the girl she loves.
Two girls. Two different worlds. Then, a plane crash changes it all. Papi was on that plane and when it went down the media told the world there were no survivors. But there were actually a lot of survivors and two of them were Camino and Yahaira and they were about to find out about Papi's secret.
They were about to discover that each of them had a sister - a sister they never knew existed.
Rich in the vibrant culture of the DR, this is a story of two young women who are dealing with their self image, their identities, their sense of where and how they belong to the world. That world sends them some pretty strong messages about their sexuality, their bodies, who they belong to and what they can be used for.
Their experience teaches them they can be abused at the hands of men who wield power, offer empty promises and rule by making young women their pawns as though all they have to offer is their sexuality and their attraction for older men.
Camino and Yahaira are champions at heart. Both young women have the capacity to love and to see beyond the boxes their culture wants to use to trap them.
This is a deeply felt story about coming of age and about finding out your parents hold onto secrets you never suspected. This is a deeply felt story about two young women who are strong enough to shatter the expectations and to veer away from the only deeply rutted paths women on the island believe are open to them. This is a beautiful story about strength, intelligence, courage, loyalty and the astonishing power of generations of women when they stand together to defy the demands of men who feel entitled to take what will never belong to them.
Read this one for sisterhood. Read this one to feel the feeling of what it must be like to sit in the office at the appointment when your papers are being evaluated for a visa - that amazing visa that will open the door to the United States, to education, to your future, to being who you were truly meant to be. Read this one to feel that feeling of the strength and pride in being a woman. Willing to give up, willing to take care of others, willing to fight together and willing to take big risks to reach the place where you can live that dream you've held for so long.
Expect to get scared. Expect to feel vulnerable. Expect to get angry.
Tissue box needs to be handy. Get ready to shout brava! Truly beautiful.
432 pages 978-0062882769 Ages 14 and up (sexual abuse)
Keywords: sisters, secrets, novel in verse, finding yourself, dreams, father/daughter, Latina author, Latinx, multicultural, family, sexual abuse, 14 year old, 15 year old, 16 year old, women, relatives, hope
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. --from the publisher