cover image Wings in the Wild

Wings in the Wild

Margarita Engle. Atheneum, $18.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-66592-636-2

After a hurricane uncovers her parents’ hidden sculptures of chained birds, leading to their arrest for violating Cuban policies regarding artistic liberty, Soleida is forced to flee alone. The 16-year-old travels through Central America before becoming stranded in a refugee camp in Costa Rica. Meanwhile, 16-year-old California native Dariel, the son of famous actors, enchants with his guitar, all while feeling trapped by his parents’ fame and their plans for his life. When his fingertips are burned in a fire, rendering him unable to play his guitar, he joins his abuelo in interviewing a diasporic community called los Cubanos de Costa Rica for a forthcoming book. There, Dariel meets Soleida, and their shared passion for artistic freedom and eco-activism inspires them to start a human rights campaign; they seek to liberate Soleida’s parents and other Cuban artists while saving the endangered wildlife and forests in Costa Rica. Employing stunningly immersive verse and distinct alternating perspectives, Engle (Singing with Elephants) sets Soleida and Dariel’s developing relationship against a backdrop of advocacy to present a profoundly romantic read that prioritizes topical issues, such as environmental and refugee crises, and political oppression of artists. English- and Spanish-language editions publish simultaneously. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Apr.)