Meet the Garcia sisters - Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia. The girls spent their childhoods in the Dominican Republic. They came to the United States in 1960 after their father's plan to overthrow the Trujillo dictatorship was exposed. When they arrive, the girls are teens and everyone is getting used to living in New York, as people in America are different from those back in their homeland. This is the story - told in reverse chronological order (adult to childhood) of how each girl learns to assimilate to American culture while simultaneously forgetting their roots from the Dominican Republic.
BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
This the first Julia Alvarez book I have read, and it is safe to say I’ve fallen in love with her books. I really like the idea of the story being told backwards, from the Garcia sisters' adulthood to their childhood. I loved reading how their lives turned out and what the sisters were like growing up. Reading multiple perspectives allowed me to fully grasp the Garcias' experiences and struggles both in the Dominican Republic and America.
This book is definitely more for teens and young adults than middle grade. The experiences have lots of detail and cover many topics, plus there are some scenes that may be a bit too graphic for younger kids. For teens and young adults, I would say this is definitely a book you should buy. It is very interesting and you could easily want to read it again.
New-to-teens history, unique storytelling style, and exceptional writing give readers lots to enjoy - and fresh perspectives to think about, too. Our teen immediately went searching for her next Julia Alvarez book as soon as she finished this one.
Sexual references and descriptions; drugs, and profanity. Some readers may find going backward chronologically confusing.
This is a realistic fiction/historical fiction story told in multiple perspectives, by each of the Garcia sisters.
Today's youth are not likely to know about Rafael Trujillo or his dictatorship, having that historical context will add a bit more understanding to how the Garcia sisters viewed their worlds both in the United States and in the Dominican Republic.
The story has many layers, added to by the individual perspectives of each of the narrators. Since your reader is not likely going to want to talk about literary technique, invite them to talk about the narrators: is there a character they most liked? disliked? What were the events that influenced their life choices?
15 and Up
14 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Buy. The book is really, really ,good and you are going to want to share it with friends and read it again.