I read this title awhile ago and have been really thinking about what I wanted to write about it or whether or not I wanted to post anything at all. I came down on the side of posting really just so that I would have something written down when we meet for our Mock Newbery in a few weeks.
I think part of my problem is that I read this in the midst of the other Mock books and it didn't fare well when I compared it to the other titles. It lacked the conciseness of The Night Fairy, the characterization of One Crazy Summer, and the lyricism and rhythm of Keeper. In short, I didn't find it as polished, nor did I find the writing as distinguished. I will say I enjoyed it and had I read it for another purpose I may have actually enjoyed it more.
One thing I do question is the use of headlines taken from real newspapers. We only get the headline, no excerpt from the article. I wasn't sure what purpose this served or what it lent to the story. I assume the intent was to inform the reader as to what people were saying about Castro and Cuba, but what should the reader get out of a headline that reads, "Castro Denounces U.S., Roars Defiance of OAS." or "Crime to Have Foreign Money in Cuba Now." or "The Red Plot Confirmed." Headlines are created to be dramatic and attention getting, shocking, even (as the one comparing Castro to Hitler was no doubt supposed to be). But they seem to be randomly placed I don't think they added any extra value or historical information. I certainly couldn't see a tie into the ensuing chapter. Honestly, it just seemed to me as though the author had a particular agenda (Castro = bad) and wanted to back it up somehow. I think her story was enough without the headlines.
I enjoyed reading about a program I was not previously aware where Cuban parents had sent their children in the US. It is a part of US history that I was not aware of.