cover image Your Heart, My Sky: Love in a Time of Hunger

Your Heart, My Sky: Love in a Time of Hunger

Margarita Engle. Atheneum, $18.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6496-4

Three-time Pura Belpré Medalist Engle (With a Star in My Hand) offers a soulful historical novel-in-verse, following a matchmaking dog and two malnourished teenagers who fall in love in 1990s Cuba. Utilizing titled free-verse poems, Engle highlights the “plunging shock of hunger” during Cuba’s “special period in times of peace” through three perspectives: Liana, 14, and Amado, 15, in their own words, and the omniscient third-person perspective of “the singing dog” Liana adopts. Full of gnawing hunger and defiant hope, both Liana and Amado have chosen to dodge “a summer of oppressive labor” in the sugar fields—and when their paths cross, sparks fly (“Embers flare/ within the heart’s sky/ like fireflies that blink/ as they search/ for mates.”). The first poem, “Island of Cuba: Summer 1991,” sets the tone immediately with its arresting opening line (“Imagine a year when food suddenly vanishes”), and as readers dig deeper into the story of Liana, Amado, and their canine “Cupid,” Engle’s words evocatively depict how love can thrive even under the harshest conditions. Back matter includes an author’s note. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Mar.) [/em]