An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Seventeen-year-old Francisco can’t decide whether to finish high school or to start a business with his best friend in the lively marketplace of Cochabamba, Bolivia. But his lower-middle class life is turned upside-down when his father is imprisoned by a corrupt and unfair legal system that targets the indigenous population. A domino effect topples his family’s station in life, and gut-wrenching factors force Francisco and his little sister Pilar to move into the prison with their father. The danger of the streets that they had tried to avoid before now surrounds them.
This moving contemporary young adult novel is a wake-up call to American teenagers, who may take for granted the luxury of our high standard of living and the rule of law. Crowder's powerful narrative delivers an injection of gratitude for the things we might feel entitled to in a prosperous democratic society. Beyond an impression that life in the Third World is tough, readers will discover on an emotional level just how difficult it is for teenagers to survive elsewhere. And An Uninterrupted View of the Sky does this through the dramatic plight of complex but sympathetic characters in spellbinding fashion.
In addition, readers who deal with challenging circumstances at home will relate to the semblance of security and normalcy that schools can provide otherwise chaotic lives. Likewise, Francisco and Pilar are permitted to leave the prison in the mornings to go to school, but they must return to brutal conditions before curfew at dinnertime each evening. Francisco’s previous annoyance with all the rules, social codes, and demands of teachers in high school pales next to the imminent danger faced daily in prison. He is obliged to re-evaluate his priorities and the importance of an education when confronted with these riveting turns of events.
All the best, Chris Brandon Whitaker
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