Title: Brighter Than the Sun
Author: Daniel Aleman
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: March 21, 2023
About the Book
From the author of the award-winning debut novel INDIVISIBLE comes an affecting, timely, and thought-provoking story about going after your dreams, making tough choices, and learning that change gives as much as it takes.
Every morning, sixteen-year-old Sol wakes up at the break of dawn in her hometown of Tijuana, Mexico, and makes the trip across the border to go to school in the United States. Though the commute is exhausting, this is the best way to achieve her dream of becoming the first person in her family to go to college.
When her family’s restaurant starts struggling, Sol must find a part-time job in San Diego to help her dad put food on the table and pay the bills. But her complicated school and work schedules on the US side of the border mean moving in with her best friend and leaving her family behind.
With her life divided by an international border, Sol must come to terms with the loneliness she hides, the pressure she feels to succeed for her family, and the fact that the future she once dreamt of is starting to seem unattainable. Mostly, she’ll have to grapple with a secret she’s kept even from herself: that maybe she’s relieved to have escaped her difficult home life, and a part of her may never want to return.
About the Author
Daniel Aleman is the award-winning author of Indivisible. He was born and raised in Mexico City. A graduate of McGill University, he is passionate about books, coffee, and dogs.
After spending time in Montreal and the New York City area, he now lives in Toronto, where he is on a never-ending search for the best tacos in the city.
His second novel, Brighter Than the Sun, will be published on March 21, 2023 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Sol’s father can’t get out of the debt crippling the family. He wants to keep the restaurant alive for his kids, but it’s becoming too difficult. Because she was born in the states, Sol goes to the US for schooling. Now her father wants her to work and knows she will make more working in the states. She can send the money back to help the family.
It’s so impossibly hard for Sol because she’s not sleeping as well as she should be with her work hours. With work, school, and traveling home on the weekends, she is constantly exhausted and can’t keep up. She is a strong girl, but life is intent on keeping her down. In addition, she’s dealing with the grief of losing her mother, so she has too much going on for someone so young.
I didn’t love Sol’s father, Armando, who was an absolute jerk at times. I get it. Money problems cause enormous stress, so sometimes people can lash out. But he’s terrible to his son, Diego. He doubts Sol about a serious event related to her job and is not there for his kids. His role as a father isn’t a role at all because he doesn’t know them, listen to them, or support them in any way. His only interest in his daughter is that she brings home a paycheck. I would have liked to see some character growth on his part, but it just didn’t happen. I also feel that Luis and Abuela weren’t all that fleshed out. We knew who they were on the surface, but that was about it. It would have been nice to see some dimension.
Outside of that, this was an enjoyable read. I enjoyed Sol’s connection to Diego and that she could be there in a way her father wasn’t. What Sol has to go through is typical of many families that live near the border of the US. It’s a lot of pressure on the children and the families. There are some important topics covered in this book that will be beneficial to readers of all ages.
“It makes me a little mad to think that Luis was right about at least one thing: the fact that our dad has been making empty promises for over a year.”
“Even without saying a single word, I know that she can see right through me.”
“Sometimes, I just feel like… like I’m drowning.”
“You’re strong- stronger than anyone who tries to tear you down.”
“It’s hard to believe that just yesterday, I was eager to get back home. Now, all I want to do is leave.”
“We’re all technically running in the same race, but some of us started ten feet behind.”
This was such a fun book to read. Check out the other stops on the blog tour at TBR and Beyond.
2 thoughts on “Blog Tour Review: Brighter Than the Sun, Daniel Aleman”
I like the premise for the book. The dad sounds like a jerk. I think I’d like this one
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