Published January 3rd 2017 by Delacorte Press
Dani Falls learned to tolerate her existence in suburban Florida with her brash and seemingly unloving mother by embracing the philosophy Why care? It will only hurt. So when her mother is killed in a sudden and violent manner, Dani goes into an even deeper protection mode, total numbness. It’s the only way she can go on.
But when Dani chooses The Stranger by Albert Camus as summer reading for school, it feels like fate. The main character’s alienation after his mother’s death mirrors her own.
Dani’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she is sent to New Mexico to live with an aunt she never knew she had. The awkwardness between them is palpable. To escape, Dani takes long walks in the merciless heat. One day, she meets Paulo, who understands how much Dani is hurting. Although she is hesitant at first, a mutual trust and affection develop between Dani and Paulo, and Dani begins to heal. And as she and her aunt begin to connect, Dani learns about her mother’s past. Forgiving isn’t easy, but maybe it’s the only way to move forward.
But after reading the book, I developed an even stronger appreciate for Sanchez's work. She invokes a lyrical sense of loneliness, detailing the journey of Dani Falls, as she struggles to reconnect with life, after the shocking and surprising death of her mother. Dani's already numb to the world because of her mother; and it only increases tenfold when she's forced to move into the New Mexico desert to go live with an aunt.
Her journey is initially one of acute loneliness; heightened by the inclusion of Camus's The Stranger as her summer reading. Sanchez paints a vivid, intense feeling of it's us-against-the-world, which I think many fledging young readers will relate to, even if they've (fortunately) never had to undergo similar circumstances. We're privy to Dani's highs-and-lows, and Sanchez's emphasis on Dani's ability to contain multitudes - silence mixed with internal fury - is one that is both realistic, but also a nod of respect to the genuine complexity of teens.
Paulo's introduction serves as a reminder that there are those who will challenge us to love ourselves - sometimes very much despite our own best efforts - and is a needed ray of light to Dani's life.
Ultimately, Sanchez has written a unique, coming-of-age story about love, loss and growth that will stick with readers long after they've finished reading. The wistfulness and dream-like story may not necessarily be for everyone, but it will a strong, appreciable audience.
Highly, highly recommend this unique, engaging tale.
Check out the rest of the tour!
1/18: Hello Jenny Reviews, Review
1/19: As Told by Tina, Review
1/20: Never Too Many to Read, Review
1/23: Novel Ink, Interview
1/24: The Reading Nook, Review <--- Hello!
1/25: Literary Meanderings, Review
1/26: Pretty Little Memoirs, Review
1/27: Oh, for the Hook of a Book!, Review
About the author:
JENNY TORRES SANCHEZ is a full-time writer and former English teacher. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, but has lived on the border of two worlds her whole life. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and their children. Because of the Sun is her third novel. Visit her online at jennytorressanchez.com and on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @jetchez.