Title: The Red Umbrella
Author: Christina Gonzalez
Publisher: Random House
The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.
In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.
As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.
Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?
The Red Umbrella is a moving story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.
My Thoughts: I must admit that I was completely and utterly impressed and blown away by The Red Umbrella. It was utter brilliance. I loved it and could not put it down.
I'd never heard much about Cuba and the Communist Revolution, except for a few paragraphs in my US History book. This didn't take away from the book, though. In fact, it added to it because I was intrigiued to find out more, not just about the characters but about the revolution itself. However, those that are familiar with the Revolution will still find the story extremely enjoyable, as Christina includes just the right amount of details to keep both parties happy.
The relationships between the characters were another thing I loved about the novel. Even though the setting and time period is different, I could still relate to the way Lucia regarded the others in the novel. Her little brother has to be one of the most adorable characters ever written about and I loved reading about their bond.
Overall, I highly, highly recommend this, even if historical isn't your thing. You won't regret it!