*Natalia Sylvester. Running.
Read by Frankie Corzo.
7 CDs. 8 hrs.
Recorded Books. 2020. Ages 12+
Fifteen-year-old Mariana (Mari) Ruiz grows up in a Cuban-American family in South Florida's Miami Dade County. Her father, Anthony, is a U.S. Senator running for President of the United States. In this coming-of-age story Mari learns a lot about herself, her family and her father. She has lived in the shadow of his political campaigns all her life – the pressure, the absences, the image, and the spotlight. After becoming involved with an activist group at her high school, Mari begins to realize that she can no longer accept everything her father says in his campaign speeches. In trying to raise money for his campaign, he is willing to compromise his ideals and the promises he has made to his family, especially Mari. When Mari's best friend, Vivi, loses her home during her parents' divorce due to a politically backed land deal and then Vivi's grandmother is hospitalized after drinking unsafe water for which her father is responsible, she begins to research the issues and think for herself. As her father's campaign manager, Joe, begins shadowing her, intruding on her privacy and interfering in her social contacts, Mari faces a decision about her group's upcoming protest march for clean water.
This fast-paced narration by Frankie Corzo, rendered with many Hispanic cultural overtones and peppered with Spanish expressions, includes voices of Mari's family, her friends of Haitian, Dominican, and Peruvian ancestry, campaign workers, news media – each with differing views of the campaign. The questions multiply – How will the election turn out? What will it do to Mariana's family, and What power does she have to influence the outcome?
Natalia Sylvester's excellent and inspiring audiobook captures the real controversy that shakes the family, the school, the community, and ultimately the political race. Good listening for teens and adults interested in politics, family dynamics, and the future of youth protest movements.
Reviewed by Susan Allison