I finally finished this book (yeah!) and I say that with real happiness because I have been trying to finish it for the last three nights, excited for where the story was taking me. I'd get a few chapters read and be really ready for bed. Am I incapable of reading well-in-to-the-night as I have for the previous parts of my life!! Hmmmm. Back to this wonderful book.
Red Glassis the story of Sophie and one summer of bravery and adventure and more bravery. She lives in Tuscon with her mom, step-dad, Juan and her mom's crazy Bosnian great-aunt, Dika(an amazing character). Juan is in the import/export business and has also given refuge to Hispanic immigrants from time-to-time. When a young boy (Pablo) is brought in by border patrol they find Juan's business card in Pablo's pocket and telephone Juan. Pablo's parents died trying to make it across the border and until decisions are made as to what to do with Pablo, Sophie's family brings him home with them.
Sophie loves having a new little brother and showers him with attention, even sleeps outdoors next to the chicken coop with him. Sadness encompasses Pablo even thought Sophie and Dika try to bring joy to his life. Contact is made at some point with Pablo's family in Mexico and the family plans a trip to return him home. The original plans fall through and Dika, her boyfriend Mr. Lorenzo, Mr. Lorenzo's son, Angel and Sophie drive in an old VW bus (what else would you drive through Mexico in but a beloved bus) to take Pablo home to visit his Abuelita and his village. Pablo will be able to choose staying in Mexico or returning home to Sophie's family. Choosing to go with is a major accomplishment for Sophie because she is a girl with many concerns; she is a worrier and this trip will force her to go beyond her normal boundaries. She is worried about the bus going off the road, bandits, and germs. Everyone involved in this trip has experienced deep loss as refugees and Sophie has her own self-esteem hurdles to climb. It is this amazing journey Sophie takes that causes such life-changing moments for her. The relationships she builds with Angel, Dika and even Mr. Lorenzo create a stronger more confidant Sophie. The book is interspersed with Spanish language and thanks to the author's time in "the Mixtec region of Oaxaca, Mexico" it has a deep truthfulness to it. This is a lovely story; one in which I fell in love with the characters, admire the courage of Sophie and want to know more...how does Sophie's journey affect her next year in school, what happens between Sophie and Angel?? Could there be a sequal? The author's blog and website are wonderful-take a look! I highly recommend this book for middle/high school and adult readers! Check out these otherblog reviews about this magical book: Sarah's Random Musings, Readergirlz, and Melissa Walker.