From the backyards of suburban Florida to the parched desert of New Mexico, Because of the Sun explores the complexity of family, the saving grace of friendship, and the healing that can begin when the truth is brought to light.
Dani learned to tolerate her existence in suburban Florida with her brash and seemingly unloving mother by embracing the philosophy Why care? It will only hurt. So when her mother is killed in a sudden and violent manner, Dani goes into an even deeper protection mode, total numbness. It’s the only way she can go on.
But when Dani chooses The Stranger by Albert Camus as summer reading for school, it feels like fate. The main character’s alienation after his mother’s death mirrors her own.
Dani’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she is sent to New Mexico to live with an aunt she never knew she had. The awkwardness between them is palpable. To escape, Dani takes long walks in the merciless heat. One day, she meets Paulo, who understands how much Dani is hurting. Although she is hesitant at first, a mutual trust and affection develops between them. And as she and her aunt begin to connect, Dani learns about her mother’s past. Forgiving isn’t easy, but maybe it’s the only way to move forward.
“The author's dreamlike language is at once beautiful and brutal. . . This lyrical coming-of-age story effectively explores the complicated nature of love and grief." – Kirkus Book Reviews
“ . . .a beautiful and moving tale that accurately captures the complications and dysfunctions of different families. . .” – Booklist
“ . . .explores tragic loss and the human ability to overcome it.” – School Library Journal
“Sanchez’s expertly crafted narrative moves seamlessly between ‘that night’ and now, pulling readers into Frenchie’s anger and pain without straying into clichés of teen angst. Frenchie’s struggle to identify and process her own emotions rings out as authentic and honest. There are no easy answers for Frenchie Garcia as she attempts to recover from the tragedy of suicide.
An exceptionally well-written journey to make sense of the senseless.” – Kirkus (starred Review and Kirkus Best Teen Books of 2013)
“Sanchez (The Downside of Being Charlie) gets her heroine's tough exterior and vulnerable insides in just the right balance. . . . [She] provides a healing salve for teens who may know someone who has committed suicide, and also a strong testament against it.” – Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“This is a fast, well-written read with a satisfactory though not necessarily happy ending and a protagonist to remember-a survivor and person of action. A solid choice that is accessible even for reluctant readers.” – School Library Journal
"With well-paced revelations, Sanchez gradually strengthens Frenchie’s resolve to heal and move forward . . . and the author wittingly ensures that the reader wants nothing less for her." – Booklist
“Sanchez deftly maneuvers between real time and Frenchie’s flashbacks, constructing a dreamy narrative that accurately captures the lingering repercussions of suicide." – The Horn Book Magazine
“Peppered with sardonic humor, debut author Sanchez’s confessional-style prose conveys Charlie’s distress and confusion as his family life disintegrates . . . Sanchez explores the psychological underpinnings of eating disorders while creating a complete character in the closet-brilliant but perennially tongue-tied Charlie.” – Publishers Weekly
“Charlie is one of those antiheroes with whom readers will fall in love. Charlie has to deal with several issues, including his mother's mental illness and a developing eating disorder, and he does so poignantly and with humor and candor. Readers will enjoy his tale and might be reminded of John Green's An Abundance Of Katherines (Dutton, 2006/Voya October 2006). Make no mistake, however, Sanchez has crafted a unique and moving story that will connect with teens.” Reviewer: Victoria Vogel – VOYA magazine