Modern history unearthed as a boy becomes an innocent victim of corruption in Bolivia's crime world, where the power of family is both a prison and a means of survival.
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
About the Author
Melanie Crowder (www.melaniecrowder.net) is the author of National Jewish Book Award finalist and ILA Notable Book for a Global Society Audacity, as well as A Nearer Moon and Parched. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Melanie lives with her family on Colorado’s Front Range where she has worked as an educator for more than a decade. You can follow her on Twitter @MelanieACrowder.
Read an Excerpt
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An Uninterrupted View of the Sky In the book, An Uninterrupted View of the Sky, a seventeen year old boy and his eight year old sister are living in Bolivia. Life was going so well for them, they had two loving parents, a house, and a school to learn and make friends. One day that all took a turn, their dad had been arrested! If you thought things couldn’t get any worse their mom just left them stranded without shelter or even saying goodbye. They had to live with their father in jail, and life wasn’t so great anymore. They tried to make the best of what they had, but they were still upset. The kids had lost their friends, and found happiness just living in a prison cell. When the boy turns eighteen, the kids have to go live with their grandparents to be secure, so they take the trip and go, but they don’t lose touch of their father, they write letters to him. The father eventually finds his love, but not his wife, poetry. The boy is very excited because the prison had brought the dad sadness, and he never wrote poems anymore. He wasn’t inspired to write and didn’t like to write sad poems, because he wanted them to be meaningful. I would recommend this book to middle school age children and older. The book mainly talks about things that happen everyday, and makes you feel like it happened to you. It uses some foul language, and is very serious about what is going on. It’s very interesting and you want to know if something happens. The book takes unexpected turns that you’ll never see coming, and there’s never a dull moment. I enjoyed reading, An Uninterrupted View of the Sky.