Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

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Anita de la Torre never questioned her freedom living in the Dominican Republic. But by her 12th birthday in 1960, most of her relatives have emigrated to the United States, her Tío Toni has disappeared without a trace, and the government’s secret police terrorize her remaining family because of their suspected opposition of el Trujillo’s dictatorship.

Using the strength and courage of her family, Anita must overcome her fears and fly to freedom, leaving all that she once knew behind.

From renowned author Julia Alvarez comes an unforgettable story about adolescence, perseverance, and one girl’s struggle to be free.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Julia Alvarez

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Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, two books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eight books for children and young adults. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature in 2007 from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the 2002 Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the2000 Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library's 1996 program "The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez." A writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, Alvarez and her husband, Bill Eichner, established Alta Gracia, an organic coffee farm-literacy arts center, in her homeland, the Dominican Republic.
Published December 18, 2007 by Laurel Leaf. 192 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Her entree into puberty goes hand in hand with her entree into this adult world of terror: “I don’t want to be a señorita now that I know what El Jefe does to señoritas.” According to an author’s note, Alvarez (How Tía Lola Came to Visit Stay, 2001, etc.) drew upon the experiences of family membe...

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Publishers Weekly

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The perspective remains securely Anita's, and Alvarez's pitch-perfect narration will immerse readers in Anita's world.

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Her uncle may be one of the ‘disappeared’, most of her family has fled the country for safety, secret police search houses and have spies in every household, and Trujillo has a penchant for young girls and her sister is on his list.

Jul 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Before We Were Free

Book Reporter

Recounting dreams where she sees Anita "take flight," Chucha tries to prepare her young charge for a new beginning while Anita's father impresses upon her the importance of freedom.

Aug 13 2002 | Read Full Review of Before We Were Free

Common Sense Media

Through Anita's story, readers will also struggle with the same issues Anita and her family do: Is murdering anyone ever justified, even when it's a dictator?

Feb 15 2004 | Read Full Review of Before We Were Free

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