AN UNINTERRUPTED VIEW OF THE SKY
There are writers and then there is Melanie Crowder, who advances the art form to such a degree that when you reach the last page you can only hope that she will bless you with another literary masterpiece. Her young adult novel is raw, gripping, poetic and bold as it tackles the lingering impact of colonialism in South America's poorest country and America's unscrupulous War on Drugs in the region. Crowder takes you on an emotional pilgrimage that you won’t want to end. Dark subject matter makes this book appropriate for those in their mid-to-late teens and older.
At 17, Francisco Vargas is on the precipice of adulthood. He’s also at a crossroads. Raised in the Bolivian city Cochabamba, he’s struggling to reconcile his indigenous roots and poverty as he fights for a better future. He is aimless at school and coasting through life, but as his very existence gets upended he can no longer be idle. Vargas is not without options, though. He could dropout of school and sell drugs, or he could get his head in the game and graduate. Neither road is an easy one as he faces countless obstacles, but the choice he makes will define him and those whom he loves for a lifetime. (PHILOMEL, Jun., 304 pp., $17.99, HC, 16 & Up)