International Latino Book Award
“Aleman has written an exceptional story…”
—The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“I have to read this novel again! It’s surreal and passionate and disturbing and irresistible.”
—The Latina Book Club
Alex and Cara pack their belongings and stuff them in the back seat of an old Hyundai and set off for Miami to spend time with their uncle, Diego. Together, they experience a summer of discovery, love and redemption as well as the meaning of life.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult and Young Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I'm inspired by the beauty of well written books and in particular the lyrical style of Khaled Hosseini, the macondo style of Junot Diaz and the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In conveying deep and dark topics, I thought it was only fitting to carefully weave styles in order to move the reader and make them laugh and cry. I'm also inspired by all that is uplifting and offers hope.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Alex was inspired by the eponymous character in the Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, namely the borderline Aspergers and weight problem.
Cara is the represents the incurable romantic chasing her one crush that she's been after since her childhood.
Diego is in denial regarding his own issues as he obsesses over someone else who facing an epic struggle.
Ling is the woman who finds happiness by returning love.
Each character was created by sharing an aspect of myself.
The yachts glimmered in the lights of the marina, the tang of the sea air reminding Cara that there were other worlds as vast as the oceans, delights untempered by dysfunctional families and tyrannical district managers. The reflections in the black and cutting waters, the unseen horizon, the Big Dipper, all features of a time machine, bringing Cara back, closer to her girlhood, moments away from seeing Matt again.
Cara and Alex arrived at the marina after having encountered heavy US-1 traffic and the difficulty of finding Friday night parking in Coconut Grove for the old gray Hyundai. Walking along the floating docks, the laughter and reggae music indicated which of the moored yachts held a sendoff party.
Alex was nervous, not wanting to annoy the college crowd with his under-age presence. Cara was eager to be seen in her flower print wrap-top with jeans. Her hair was down and holding together in spite of the humidity. She wore a sterling y-necklace with a pear shaped sapphire and matching earrings. A touch of makeup on her tawny porcelain skin.
“There it is…the Grace Quintessence,” Cara said looking at the Art Nouveau lettering.
“That’s a big boat,” Alex pointed out.
A large shiny mural of underwater dolphins in shades of turquoise and blue covered the hull, airbrushed scribbles of light riding their bodies. They walked to the other side to see the rest of the mural and noticed a young man, drinking from a bottle, sitting and holding the guardrail.
“You here for Matt?” he said.
“Yes,” Alex answered.
The young man never took his eyes off of Cara, motioning her to walk across the boarding ramp, approaching to greet her and taking her by the hand.
“Let me help you across the plank,” he said in a pirate’s voice. “Welcome aboard the Grace Quintessence.”
After Cara had boarded and his eyes had sufficiently feasted, he looked at Alex with an inquisitive expression.
“How old are you?”
“Fifteen,” Alex looked away, sensing a long, humiliating evening.
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