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 VERÓNICA, A PERUVIAN AMERICAN TEEN WITH HIP DYSPLASIA, AUDITIONS TO BECOME A MERMAID AT A CENTRAL FLORIDA THEME PARK IN THE SUMMER BEFORE HER SENIOR YEAR, ALL WHILE FIGURING OUT HER FIRST REAL BOYFRIEND AND HOW TO FEEL SAFE IN HER OWN BODY.


Verónica has had many surgeries to manage her disability. The best form of rehabilitation is swimming, so she spends hours in the pool, but not just to strengthen her body. Her Florida town is home to Mermaid Cove, a kitschy underwater attraction where professional mermaids perform in giant tanks . . . and Verónica wants to audition.

 

But her conservative Peruvian parents would never go for it. And they definitely would never let her be with Alex, her cute new neighbor. She decides it’s time to seize control of her life, but her plans come crashing down when she learns her parents have been hiding the truth from her—the truth about her own body.

Rooted in the author's lived experience, BREATHE AND COUNT BACK FROM TEN unapologetically explores themes of immigration, disability rights, coming of age into your sexuality, and bodily agency.

"A poignant and powerful story of a girl navigating tense family dynamics, the boundaries of a body she fights for, and a watery dream where everything collides. Root for Verónica as she grows in courage to rise from the surface of adversity, and to live inside the most authentic expression of herself. Real and beautifully relevant."

— Laura Taylor Namey, author of A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow and When We Were Them

“A gorgeous, heartfelt exploration of what it means to know and love the body that you have. Natalia Sylvester has written the book I wish I had been able to read as a teen. A shimmering triumph of a book.” — Amanda Leduc, author of The Centaur’s Wife and Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability and Making Space 

 

"Breathtaking and utterly original…a beautiful tribute to disabled bodies and a vital addition to YA literature." — Lillie Lainoff, author of One for All

 

“For all of us who, as Natalia Sylvester so thoughtfully puts it, ‘desire to […] be seen as we truly are.’ Breathe and Count Back from Ten, with its deep honesty, hope, emotion, and tenderness, is a beautifully powerful coming-of-age story I will forever hold close to my heart.” — Jonny Garza Villa, author of Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

 
 

WHEN FIFTEEN YEAR-OLD CUBAN AMERICAN MARIANA RUIZ'S FATHER RUNS FOR PRESIDENT, MARI STARTS TO SEE HIM WITH NEW EYES. A NOVEL ABOUT WAKING UP AND SPEAKING UP, AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP SEEING YOUR DAD AS YOUR HERO—WHILE THE WHOLE COUNTRY IS WATCHING.

 

In this thoughtful, authentic, humorous, and gorgeously written novel about privacy, waking up, and speaking up, Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was. 

 

But how do you find your voice when everyone’s watching? When it means disagreeing with your father—publicly? What do you do when your dad stops being your hero? Will Mari get a chance to confront her father? If she does, will she have the courage to seize it?  

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FOR EDUCATORS:

Download a Critical Literacy Action Board

for Grades 7-12 here and a

Classroom Discussion Guide here

 

FROM THE ACCLAIMED AUTHOR OF CHASING THE SUN COMES A NEW NOVEL ABOUT IMMIGRATION AND THE DEPTHS TO WHICH ONE MEXICAN AMERICAN FAMILY WILL GO FOR FORGIVENESS AND REDEMPTION.

The first time Isabel meets her father-in-law, Omar, he’s already dead—an apparition appearing uninvited on her wedding day. Her husband, Martin, still unforgiving for having been abandoned by his father years ago, confesses that he never knew the old man had died. So Omar asks Isabel for the impossible: persuade Omar’s family—especially his wife, Elda—to let him redeem himself.

Isabel and Martin settle into married life in a Texas border town, and Omar returns each year on the celebratory Day of the Dead. Every year Isabel listens, but to the aggrieved Martin and Elda, Omar’s spirit remains invisible. Through his visits, Isabel gains insight into not just the truth about his disappearance and her husband’s childhood but also the ways grief can eat away at love. When Martin’s teenage nephew crosses the Mexican border and takes refuge in Isabel and Martin’s home, questions about past and future homes, borders, and belonging arise that may finally lead to forgiveness—and alter all their lives forever.

... a deeply satisfying read, beautifully illustrating how love and obligation shape our lives and give them meaning. Life on the borderlands—between Texas and Mexico, news reports and real life, history and memory, the living and the dead—creates an immersive world for exploring the mysteries that we all are to each other, bound as we may be by shared blood, shared love, and shared grief.” —ire’ne lara silva, author of flesh to bone

“... a rich and moving story of love and secrets. Natalia Sylvester beautifully explores borders both physical and metaphysical.” —Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One is Here Except All of Us

 

ANDRES SUSPECTS HIS WIFE HAS LEFT HIM—AGAIN. THEN HE LEARNS THE UNTHINKABLE HAS HAPPENED: SHE'S BEEN KIDNAPPED.

 

Too much time and too many secrets have come between Andres and Marabela, but now that she’s gone, he’ll do anything to get her back. Or will he?

As Marabela slips farther away, Andres must decide whether they still have something worth fighting for, and exactly what he’ll give up to bring her home. And unfortunately, the decision isn’t entirely up to him, or up to the private mediator who moves into the family home to negotiate with the terrorists holding Marabela. Andres struggles to maintain the illusion of control while simultaneously scrambling to collect his wife’s ransom, tending to the needs of his two young children, and reconnecting with an old friend who may hold the key to his past and his wife’s future.

Set in Lima, Peru, in a time of civil and political unrest, this evocative page-turner is a perfect marriage of domestic drama and suspense.

“A fascinating, brooding depiction of a kidnapping in Peru and how the price of a happy marriage is much higher than any ransom.”

—Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet