Review: The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez [TBR Book Tour]

We’re pleased to be hosting The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez today on the TBR and Beyond Book Tour! We’ll be introducing her latest book to you as well as sharing our thoughts and favorite quotes.

Go take a look…

About The Bluest Sky

Synopsis:

A boy and his family must decide whether to remain in Cuba under a repressive government or risk everything for the chance of a new beginning in this gripping story from the award-winning author of The Red Umbrella.

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?

Epic Book Society’s Thoughts…

The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

A wonderfully written account of life during communist Cuba through the perspective of a child. Gripping, relatable, and intriguing throughout.

Louisa Smith

Storyline
Writing Style
Uniqueness
Character Development
Likelihood of reading the sequel

Summary

The story begins with a young boy, Hector, playing with his best friend Isabel and Theo. When Hector encounters a bully who calls his father a traitor, his friends stand up for him using his grandmother’s political status as a threat.

We soon learn that Hector is in a family torn by differing political views. His father was imprisoned in the US for being outspoken against Castro’s communist Cuba, but his grandmother is the delegate for the National Assembly and a supporter of communism.

Although Hector is aware of the differing opinions, and his abuela (grandmother) is very outspoken against his father, he’s only 11 and too young and naive to think further than the maths competitions he hopes to compete in.

As his mother plans to move the family out of Cuba, Hector must learn about what’s right and what’s wrong. Only it’s hard for him, as he has never known anything outside of this life.

In some ways, this novel reminded me of Lois Lowry’s novel, The Giver, as it also features a protagonist who is a child and grows stronger, wiser, and bolder as the story progresses. I felt that while there was certainly a coming-of-age element in Hector, unlike in The Giver you are aware that he is for the whole story, just a child.

What I loved about this story was how relatable it comes across. By using a child to narrate the story, which is a detailed narrative of a tremulous period in history, you get a really in-depth perspective of it. For children make a big deal out of the small things, which often go unnoticed by adults – such as sharing a bar of chocolate in secret.

It was also very descriptive but without being too violent. This book is a middle-grade book and intended for audiences of age 10-12, but I personally found it to be more mature than that. I think the storyline is quite adult for the age group, but saying that, some middle-grade children do like a more mature read.

Although being mature for its audience, there are no overly graphic scenes. You are more left to your own imagination as to what happens to people who are “eliminated.”

This is the first novel I’ve read about communist Cuba and it really opened my eyes to the issues they went through. Some of the problems encountered in this novel are not so different from what other children go through today. If you want an eye-opening novel about history, then this is definitely one to add to your reading list.

4.8

Top 5 Favorite Quotes from The Bluest Sky

These are our top 5 favorite quotes from The Bluest Sky as we felt they represented the tone and theme of the book the best.

“Sometimes pretending to be someone else can make you forget who you really are.”

Christina Diaz Gonzalez, The Bluest Sky

“It’s like the taxi drivers that used to be doctors. Everyone’s equally poor unless you get paid under the table for doing some sort of side hustle.”

Christina Diaz Gonzalez, The Bluest Sky

“Even with so many people, I felt more alone than ever.”

“People are willing to risk everything to get out of here because they want to be free. ‘Cause who cares if your jailer gives you scraps to keep you alive… you’re still in jail. And we all deserve more.”

Christina Diaz Gonzalez, The Bluest Sky

“Nothing was ever what it seemed. Nothing. There was the illusion and the reality. Even when it came to yourself.”

Christina Diaz Gonzalez, The Bluest Sky

About Christina Diaz Gonzalez

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.

Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the Edgar® award-winning author of several books including The Red UmbrellaA Thunderous WhisperMoving TargetConcealed, and two upcoming books, Invisible (a graphic novel available in August 2022) and The Bluest Sky (a historical fiction novel available in September 2022).

Her books have received numerous honors including the Florida Book Award, the Nebraska Book Award, and the International Latino Book Award.

Her work has also been designated as an American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection, and as an International Reading Association’s Teachers’ Choice book. Christina currently lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, sons, and a dog that can open doors.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook


Tour Schedule

September 5th
Sheaf and Ink – Promotional Post
Epic Book Society – Review & Favorite Quotes

September 6th
Kait Plus Books – Interview

September 7th
This Soul’s Devouring Words – Promotional Post
Books We Love – Review

September 8th
Stuck in Fiction – Interview
The Someday Librarian – Review

September 9th
The Book Dutchesses – Promotional Post
PopTheButterfly Reads – Review

September 10th
Nine Bookish Lives – Interview

September 11th
Boys’ Mom Reads! – Review
Reading Stewardess – Review

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About Louisa

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the founder, editor, and head honcho of Epic Book Society. Once a published poet at the age of 7, she aspired to become a journalist, but that career hit a wall so here she is writing about books instead. When she's not writing about books, she's teaching English to primary school kids around the world.

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