Parents' Guide to

Jumping Off to Freedom

By Cindy Kane, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Harrowing journey of family fleeing Cuba on a raft.

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There's a great story in this book if the author's lapses in writing can be overlooked. She tends to flatly state her points with unnecessary asides, the dialogue can be awkward, and a subplot about how Toro was involved in David's friend's crime feels contrived. A wandering point of view doesn't add anything to the understanding of the characters. Bernardo also has a taste for hackneyed phrases.

But once readers wade through these flaws, there's a perspective on the plight of the Cuban boat people that no news stories can provide. The shortages that they face in Cuba are evoked clearly: no food, no power, no jobs, no freedom. The dangerous journey is also carefully described, and the moment when they see the lights of Miami is thrilling. This fills a need for young adult fiction about life in Cuba and about the boat people.

Book Details

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