Written by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Published by Random House Children's Books
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.
Primary ISBN: 9780593372791
Publication Date: September 2022
Available As: Hardcover, Audiobook, eBook
Middle Grade, Age 10 or older
Community Represented: Cuban/Cuban American
Themes: Coming of Age, Family Relationship: Grandparents, Family Relationship: Parents, Family Separation: Different Immigration Status, Own Voices/Lived Experience, Refugee: War/Conflict, Trauma & Healing
Character's Place in the Immigration Journey: In Home Country
Book Creator(s) Connection to the Community Represented: Own Voices/Lived Experience
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