cover image An Uninterrupted View of the Sky

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky

Melanie Crowder. Philomel, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-16900-7

Righteous anger, heartache, and desperation transform 17-year-old Francisco from a half-hearted student who’s more interested in pick-up soccer games than academics into a young man who realizes that education provides the only opportunity to rescue his family from an unjust political system. Set in 1999 Bolivia, the story quickly establishes the implicit social prejudices infiltrating Francisco’s country: “Light-skinned mestizos work in the banks.... Dark-skinned Aymaras and Quechuas work in the cancha and the fields and the mines. And then there’s me, stuck somewhere in between.” When the authorities imprison Francisco’s taxi-driver father for running out of gas, his mother, assessing the situation as hopeless, abandons him and his sister to the dangerous prison. Although still rebellious, Francisco is inspired by his father’s unwavering hopes for his children’s future, and their renewed communications through poetry leaves him determined to seize any opportunity to help his family. Crowder (Audacity) delivers a disturbing portrait of innocent families trapped in corrupt systems, as well as a testament to the strength of enduring cultural traditions and the possibility of finding family in the unlikeliest places. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (June)