Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hurricane Dancers (YA)

Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. Margarita Engle. 2011. Henry Holt. 160 pages.

Historical setting: Spanish ships reached the western Caribbean Sea in 1492, searching for Asia and spices. Instead, the explorers found peaceful islanders, and enslaved them. By 1510, the Bahamas, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica had been conquered. Only Cuba, the largest Caribbean isle, was still free. It was a time of hurricanes on an island of hope.

If you're a fan of Margarita Engle, then you're going to want to read one of her latest verse novels, Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. I have read and enjoyed so very many of her verse novels in the past that when I hear of a new one, I get a little thrill. Her work is something that I just look forward to. I have found her historical verse novels set in Cuba to be so good, so fascinating, so amazing. Hurricane Dancers did not disappoint. Though I'm not sure it is my favorite, favorite. (I don't think I could name a favorite, by the way.)

So Hurricane Dancers has five narrators: Quebrado (our main hero), Bernandino de Talavera (one of our villains), Alonso de Ojeda (another of our villains), Narido and Caucubu (a young couple madly in love with one another, but their parents don't approve).


I listen
to the song
of creaking planks,
the roll and sway
of clouds in sky,
wild music
and thunder,
the groans
of wood,
a mourning moan
as this old ship
her true self,
her tree self,
and growing,
on shore.

Read Hurricane Dancers

If you're a fan of Margarita Engle
If you're looking for a good book set in Cuba in the sixteenth century
If you're a fan of verse novels
If you're a fan of historical fiction
If you're looking for a good multicultural book
If you're looking to read a Pura Belpre Honor Book
If you're looking for a good coming-of-age story

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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