Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile — until one day when warships are spotted in the harbor and schoolmates start disappearing from class without a word. Celeste doesn't quite know what is happening, but one thing is clear: no one is safe, not anymore.
The country has been taken over by a government that declares artists, protestors, and anyone who helps the needy to be considered "subversive" and dangerous to Chile's future. So Celeste's parents — her educated, generous, kind parents — must go into hiding before they, too, "disappear." Before they do, however, they send Celeste to America to protect her. As Celeste adapts to her new life in Maine, she never stops dreaming of Chile. But even after democracy is restored to her home country, questions remain: Will her parents reemerge from hiding? Will she ever be truly safe again?
"Agosín has woven a historical story that draws on her own life experiences, with themes of exile, the quest for justice, and the power of the written word to preserve history. The story mirrors, but does not directly reference, the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and its accompanying turmoil. The language is poetic and full of imagery and, while the book is long, it moves at a smooth pace. Occasional illustrations reflect the mood of each phase of the story. This is Agosín's first book for a younger audience, and she has managed to capture the wide-eyed curiosity and confusion of her narrator." — Jenna Lanterman, School Library Journal
|10 and up
|Feb 10, 2015
|Atheneum Books for Young Readers
|Pura Belpré Award