“Perfect for fans of Margarita Engle and impactful historical fiction” (School Library Journal, starred review), this “evocative and transportive” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) middle grade novel follows two girls fleeing 1960 Cuba with their family, inspired by award-winning author Alexandra Diaz’s family’s history.
Victoria loves everything about her home in Cuba. The beautiful land, the delicious food, her best friend and cousin, Jackie, and her big, loving family.
But it’s 1960 in Cuba, and as the political situation grows more and more dangerous, Victoria, her parents, and her two younger siblings are forced to seek refuge in America with nothing more than two changes of clothes and five dollars. Worse, they’re forced to leave the rest of their family, including Jackie, behind.
In Miami, everything is different. And it’s up to Victoria to step up and help her family settle into this new world—even though she hopes they won’t be there for long. Back in Cuba, everything feels different, too. Jackie watches as friends and family flee, or worse, disappear. So, when she’s given a chance to escape to America, she takes it—even though she has to go alone. Reunited in Miami, can Victoria and Jackie find a way to bring the rest of their family to safety?
Based on Alexandra Diaz’s mother’s real experiences as a Cuban refugee in America, this is a moving and timely story about family, friendship, and fighting for your future.
About the Author
Alexandra Diaz is the author of The Only Road, The Crossroads, Santiago’s Road Home, and Farewell Cuba, Mi Isla. The Only Road was a Pura Belpré Honor Book and won the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, as well as numerous other accolades. Santiago’s Road Home was an International Latino Book Award gold medalist and an ALA Notable Children’s Book. Alexandra is the daughter of Cuban refugees and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but got her master’s in writing for young people at Bath Spa University in England. A native Spanish speaker, Alexandra now teaches creative writing to adults and teens. Visit her at Alexandra-Diaz.com.
* "Readers will be able to relate to the coming-of-age elements while learning about an important and difficult part of Cuba’s history. An evocative and transportive read." — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
* "Heartfelt and beautifully written, this middle grade novel is perfect for fans of Margarita Engle and of impactful historical fiction." — School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“Inspired by her own family’s experiences, Diaz delivers a well-researched story that serves as a compassionate introduction to this underdiscussed part of American and Cuban history.” — Publishers Weekly
"This is a moving, poignant read." — Booklist
"Diaz does not shy away from addressing intertwined issues of the time period, including school integration, Cold War anti-Russian prejudice, and racial and gender dynamics within the family. The book’s ending... allows for a happy, hopeful reunion in Miami with Jackie’s parents and baby brother and the girls’ grandmother." — The Horn Book