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An Uninterrupted View of the Sky

Review

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky

Life is simple for Francisco, a young man living in 1999 Bolivia. After school (a waste of time, in his opinion) Francisco spends his days playing pickup soccer games with a group of local kids, dreaming of the days he will open a shop with his friend Reynaldo. Then everything changes.

"AN UNINTERRUPTED VIEW OF THE SKY creates a whirlwind of emotions....Despite this, I was not disheartened while reading, all because of [Crowder's] realistic, yet strong and fierce characters."

When his father is sent to prison for a crime he never committed, Francisco is forced to move into the prison with his sister, Pilar, or be left to fend for themselves on the street. With any possible money being used to buy food or rent a space to sleep in the overcrowded prison, Francisco has nothing left to dream with, for or about. Living in the inhumane conditions of dirt and stink with too many bodies in one place, he must make an impossible decision. Should he protect his sister by leaving the danger and grime of the men’s prison for his grandparents’ ancient lifestyle in the Andean highlands or keep what is left of his family in one piece? Crowder writes the heartbreaking reality of countless families torn apart by cruel laws and prejudice with a heartfelt poignancy that spares nothing for the kind.

AN UNINTERRUPTED VIEW OF THE SKY creates a whirlwind of emotions which are somehow conveyed without an overabundance of wordy adjectives. I have never read a book that made me understand true hopelessness as clearly as this one. Despite this, I was not disheartened while reading, all because of her realistic, yet strong and fierce characters.

Francisco truly believes that there is no hope for himself and that he will end up nowhere. Still, he refuses to give up. He works harder than anyone --- not because he believes it will get him anywhere, but because he never wants his sister to lose herself and because he wants to keep his father alive. His heart is so big, I could feel its rhythm beating through the pages. His persistence keeps Pilar’s kindness pure and allows her to be so strong that she even thrives.

The gradual realization that life isn’t hard because of its core nature, but maybe because the law made it that way is something that is true not only in the fiction of 20 years ago, but today as well. The world where an innocent man can be sent to prison without even the hope of a trial is not a dead world, and Crowder shows the truth of this in every word she writes. Not only does she expose the reality of an unfair legal system, she writes of the prejudice of race. As a dark-skinned man, Francisco will never be Spanish enough for his world. He will always be seen as an “idiot native” no matter how hard he tries to be more --- and so he gives up. He believes he cannot go farther, so he no longer tries to. This bleak outlook may seem like the fiction it is, but the truth is the fact that he is like so many others in the real world who have been treated as “less than,” and have gradually begun to believe it.

In a sea of criminals and injustice, Francisco must fight tooth and nail, to keep those he cares about from drowning in the dark. Melanie Crowder convincingly conveys his struggle with maintaining a soothing air of hope and paying due respect to those who inspired her to create AN UNINTERRUPTED VIEW OF THE SKY.

Reviewed by Caitlyn K., Teen Board Member on June 29, 2017

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky
by Melanie Crowder

  • Publication Date: June 13, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books
  • ISBN-10: 0399169008
  • ISBN-13: 9780399169007