The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Bluest Sky

Author: Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Cuban MC and characters

Recommended For…: middle grade readers, historical fiction, Cuba, 1980s

Publication Date: September 6, 2022

Genre: MG Historical Fiction

Age Relevance: 9+ (activism, refugees, dictatorship, violence, death, grief)

Explanation of Above: The book discusses 1980s Cuba and it showcases a lot about activism and the dictatorship. It also talks about refugees. The book shows some physical violence and there is one death on scene and grief shown.

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 320

Synopsis: There are two versions of Hector: the public and the private. It’s the only way to survive in communist Cuba–especially when your father was exiled to the U.S. and labeled an enemy of the people. Hector must always be seen as a fierce supporter of the regime, even if that means loudly rejecting the father he still loves.

But in the summer of 1980, those two versions are hard to keep separate. No longer able to suppress a public uprising, the Cuban government says it will open the port of Mariel to all who wish to leave the country–if they can find a boat. But choosing to leave comes with a price. Those who want to flee are denounced as traitors by family and friends. There are violent acts of repudiation, and no one knows if they will truly be allowed to leave the country or not.

So when Hector’s mother announces that she wants the family to risk everything to go to the United States, he is torn. He misses his father, but Cuba is the only home he has ever known. All his dreams and plans require him to stay. Can he leave everything behind for an unknown future?

In a summer of heat and upheaval, danger and deadly consequences, Hector’s two worlds are on a collision course. Will the impact destroy him and everything he loves?

Christina Diaz Gonzalez’s great-grandmother, great-uncle, and extended family came to the U.S. through the Mariel boatlift. She vividly remembers meeting them all for the first time in the summer of 1980 and is proud to share this part of her family’s history.

Review: I adore this book so much! The book did so well to talk about 1980s Cuba and it offered so much information and insight into an area of history that I don’t know a lot about. The book had a math prodigy MC and featured a lot of Spanish phrases. The book also had a really good message, about making your dreams follow you. The book did well with the worldbuilding and character development as well.

The only issue I really had with the book is that it feels like a series book, the ending is a bit open-ended. I want to see more of this universe in other books, because I think the MC is a strong enough character to build on what America looks like in immigrant lenses.

Verdict: It was great! Highly recommend!

Book Info:

The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Publishing Date: September 6, 2022

Synopsis:

A boy and his family must decide whether to remain in Cuba under a repressive government or risk everything for the chance of a new beginning in this gripping story from the award-winning author of The Red Umbrella.

There are two versions of Héctor: the public and the private. It’s the only way to survive in communist Cuba—especially when your father was exiled to the U.S. and labeled an enemy of the people. Héctor must always be seen as a fierce supporter of the regime, even if that means loudly rejecting the father he still loves.

But in the summer of 1980, those two versions are hard to keep separate. No longer able to suppress a public uprising, the Cuban government says it will open the port of Mariel to all who wish to leave the country—if they can find a boat. But choosing to leave comes with a price. Those who want to flee are denounced as traitors by family and friends. There are violent acts of repudiation, and no one knows if they will truly be allowed to leave the country or not.

So when Héctor’s mother announces that she wants the family to risk everything to go to the United States, he is torn. He misses his father, but Cuba is the only home he has ever known. All his dreams and plans require him to stay. Can he leave everything behind for an unknown future?

In a summer of heat and upheaval, danger and deadly consequences, Héctor’s two worlds are on a collision course. Will the impact destroy him and everything he loves?

Christina Diaz Gonzalez’s great-grandmother, great-uncle, and extended family came to the U.S. through the Mariel boatlift. She vividly remembers meeting them all for the first time in the summer of 1980 and is proud to share this part of her family’s history.

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60372352-the-bluest-sky

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0593372794/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bluest-sky-christina-diaz-gonzalez/1140956671

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Bluest-Sky-Christina-Diaz-Gonzalez/9780593372791

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-bluest-sky/9780593372807-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780593372791

About the Author:

Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the Edgar® award-winning author of several books including The Red UmbrellaA Thunderous WhisperMoving TargetConcealed, and two upcoming books, Invisible (a graphic novel available in August 2022) and The Bluest Sky (a historical fiction novel available in September 2022). Her books have received numerous honors including the Florida Book Award, the Nebraska Book Award, and the International Latino Book Award. Her work has also been designated as an American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection, and as an International Reading Association’s Teachers’ Choice book. Christina currently lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, sons, and a dog that can open doors.

Author Links:

Website: https://christinagonzalez.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristinaDG

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinadiazgonzalez/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1030094.Christina_Diaz_Gonzalez

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinadiazgonzalez

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