Debut author Bermudez kicks off a new series focusing on the relationship between two brothers separated by the foster-care system.
Isaac still remembers how the arroz con leche splattered everywhere the day the police came for him and his siblings, the broken bowl and scattered rice a resonant metaphor for how his family had fallen apart. Older brother Victor tells Isaac not to worry about the rice; as the oldest, Victor is the stiff upper lip for the family, determined to keep it together despite the siblings’ physical separation. Isaac and Victor manage to stay in touch via email, sharing their thoughts and struggles with new foster parents, school bullies, and mysterious neighbors. Through it all they hold out hope for mending their family and all finding their way back to one another. The story is sincere and heartfelt; though brief, it packs an emotional punch and does so without sacrificing character and plot. The brevity makes it an appealing option for reluctant and low literacy readers who still want a sustained story. A bit of an abrupt ending will have readers eager to see if the boys’ wishes are ultimately fulfilled. Isaac and Victor are both of Mexican descent. The book’s design may have readers confused, with a cover that looks like a YA thriller and (uncredited) interior illustrations that look distinctly childlike.
A necessary narrative with an ambiguous design. (Fiction. 7-12)