Your Heart, My Sky: Love in a Time of Hunger

Atheneum. May 2021. 224p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534464964.
Gr 8 Up–Summer 1991 in Cuba has brought the Pan American Games to Havana, but outside of the bright lights and full tables of the city, many go hungry every day. Liana, 14, and Amado, 15, have both defied the government’s “voluntary” summer field work, preferring to seek out any food they can find instead of laboring in the sugar fields with their peers. Liana befriends a lean, scruffy dog who eventually leads her to Amado, and the three spend more and more time together as they begin to grow their own gardens full of fruits and vegetables—something that could be very dangerous. Readers will witness as Liana and Amado, both poverty-stricken teenagers and victims of the circumstances surrounding them, fall in love, and will also witness the bigger picture, as the “singing dog” Liana has befriended becomes the catalyst of their love. Verses show readers the painful hunger Liana, Amado, and their families go through every day; the lives they lead under their demanding and restrictive government; and their hopeless—yet also hopeful—views of the future. The history behind these tragic experiences is explored, along with the origins of the dog who has made it its mission to bring Liana and Amado together. Readers will not be able to turn away from the harsh truths and honest beauty of this story.
VERDICT A novel that begs us not to forget about the heartbreaking poverty and tragedy the world holds, and that reminds us of the resilience we carry inside.

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