It's 1999 in Bolivia and Francisco's life consists of school, soccer, and trying to find space for himself in his family's cramped yet boisterous home. But when his father is arrested on false charges and sent to prison by a corrupt system that targets the uneducated, the poor, and the indigenous majority, Francisco and his sister are left with no choice: They must move into prison with their father. There, they find a world unlike anything they've ever known, where everything—a door, a mattress, protection from other inmates—has its price.
Prison life is dirty, dire, and dehumanizing. With their lives upended, Francisco faces an impossible decision: Break up the family and take his sister to their grandparents in the Andean highlands, fleeing the city and the future within his grasp, or remain together in the increasingly dangerous prison. Pulled between two undesirable options, Francisco must confront everything he once believed about the world and his place within it.
In this heart-wrenching novel, Melanie Crowder sheds light on a little-known era of modern South American history—where injustice still looms large—and proves that hope can be found, even in the most desperate places.
Perfect for fans of Ruta Sepetys, Matt de la Pena, and Jacqueline Woodson.
Praise for An Uninterrupted View of the Sky:
★ "Crowder delivers a disturbing portrait of innocent families trapped in corrupt systems, as well as a testament to the strength of enduring cultural traditions and the possibility of finding family in the unlikeliest places."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Readers will feel utterly invested in Francisco's various challenges...A riveting, Dickensian tale."—Kirkus, starred review
★ "Themes of poverty, social injustice...violence toward women, coming-of-age, romantic love, and a sliver of precarious hope are woven into the plot...[An] important addition to libraries."—School Library Journal, starred review
"[A] trenchant novel...This hard-hitting, ultimately hopeful story will open readers’ eyes to a lesser-known historical moment and the far-reaching implications of U.S. policy."—Booklist
"[This novel] is raw, gripping, poetic and bold....Crowder takes you on an emotional pilgrimage that you won’t want to end."—RT Book Reviews, five-starred review
Praise for Audacity:
2015 National Jewish Book Award finalist
Washington Post Best Children’s Poetry Book
New York Public Library Best Book for Teens
ILA Notable Book for a Global Society
ALA Top 10 Best Fiction for Young Adults Pick
ALSC Notable Children's Book nominee
★ "Crowder breathes life into a world long past...Compelling, powerful and unforgettable."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ "[An] impactful addition to any historical fiction collection."—School Library Journal, starred review
★ "With a thorough historical note, glossary of terms, and bibliography, this will make an excellent complement to units on women’s rights and the labor movement, but it will also satisfy readers in search of a well-told tale of a fierce heroine."—BCCB, starred review
★ "This is an excellent title that can open discussions in U.S. history and economics courses about women’s rights, labor unions, and the immigrant experience."—School Library Connection, starred review
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The carved wooden doors leading into the prison are wide open, and there’s no line to get in, so I go straight up to the guard in the green jacket sitting behind a white plastic table. I didn’t see this one yesterday.
“Name?” the guard asks.
“Francisco Quispe Vargas.”
I do, and he watches me the whole time. What—does he think I’m sneaking drugs in here or something? I’m not that stupid.
He waves me past, but I can feel his eyes on my back the whole way through the courtyard. I can’t get used to having guards with guns around all the time, just looking for a reason to bust me. It’s got me constantly looking over my shoulder, like I’m being hunted or something.
When I come back through the prison gate, Papá and Pilar are waiting for me. Pilar’s got this look on her face that’s angry and hurt and . . . I shake my head, and there it goes—any hope she was hanging on to, gone.
I sit beside my father and sister on the concrete and watch the prisoners milling around the courtyard.
I guess this is home now.