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– Kirkus, starred review
“VERDICT: This utterly riveting first purchase offers a view of complex family dynamics and child labor that is shocking and powerful.”
– School Library Journal, starred review
SUMMARY From Kirkus reviews:
Hoping to escape the harsh labor that binds her Bolivian mining village to the mountain called Cerro Rico, 12-year-old Ana risks life and soul to unchain herself and her family.
For Ana and her sickly younger brother, Daniel, cherished school days come to a premature close when Papi, a man filled with meanness, forces Daniel to join him in the mines. Daniel, however, doesn’t last long, returning sick on his second day. Brave Ana volunteers to take her brother’s place until he can recover, much to the disapproval of Mami, Abuelita, and, particularly, the other miners, who deem her appearance in the mines a bad omen. The dreaded misfortune comes in the form of a cave-in: Papi dies and Daniel goes missing. Though everyone believes that Daniel is dead, Ana doesn’t give up hope and secretly enters the mountain one quiet night to find him, ending up lost, disoriented, and on the verge of death. But when she returns to the land of the living, she finds her world forever altered. The bittersweet splendors in Sullivan’s latest offer an intense meditation on community, child labor, and ancestral roots, among other themes. Rich with memorable characters and streaks of brilliant writing, as in the author’s previous works, Ana’s story takes readers on an arduous and ultimately rewarding journey that illuminates a fraction of the human toll behind the profit-driven pursuits of a materialistic world.