16-year-old Sophie takes a road trip from Tucson to southern Mexico and Guatemala with four unlikely companions, and finds herself opening up to love and adventure along the way.
Ages 11 & up, Delacorte/Random House, 2007, available as hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook.
awards and honors
* "Suffused with the region's vibrant colors, Resau's (What the Moon Saw) memorable novel deftly blends Latin America's richness and mystery with the brutal realities its emigrants carry away... The prose captivates from the first chapter... Central themes of fear and emotional survival permeate the multilayered plot... A mystical overlay from the practices of Pablo's Mixtec relatives adds even more luster to a vibrant, large-hearted story." --Publishers' Weekly STARRED, Featured Book on PW's Children's Bookshelf
* "The author's love for the culture and physical setting of rural Oaxaca and northern Guatemala is shown in beautiful, descriptive detail. Rich, poetic language, elements of the hero quest story pattern, and quotations from St. Exupéry's The Little Prince are braided through this coming-of-age romance as Sophie grows from amorphous onlooker into a strong, risk-taking young woman. Secondary characters, especially the 60-year-old Dika and her "boyfriend," Mr. Lorenzo, are well developed. Readers will sympathize with Pablo and agonize as he chooses whether to stay in Mexico or return to Sophie's family in Arizona . The satisfying love stories and moving glimpse of the immigrant experience make this a captivating read." --School Library Journal, STARRED
* "Resau works her magic again in this compelling first-person narrative. Full of longing and trepidation, Sophie is limited at the beginning of the story. But as she travels and comes to understand people better; life-altering perspectives awaken a newfound courage." --ALA Booklist, STARRED
"The characters are so compelling and sympathetic that the reader really cares how they all fare. Emotionally charged and powerful." --Kirkus
"Resau, who capably treats the topic of self-discovery in her first novel, What The Moon Saw, continues along similar lines here, with poignant descriptions of illegal border crossings and guerilla warfare providing a substantive background for the foreground story of coming into one's own and joining the larger organism that is one's family. The book is strengthened by a core of storytelling and intertextuality (Angel tells personal narratives in the car, Sophie reads aloud from Pablo Neruda and e.e. cummings, and each of seven parts is prefaced by a passage from The Little Prince) and suspense (which family will Pablo choose? How will Sophie overcome her fears?). An unexpectedly empowering moment that has Sophie laughing in the face of a filthy washroom is truly liberating and uplifting, and her new fearlessness should prove bolstering for readers who are on their way to discovering their own inner chispa, or spark." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The characters in this book are all delightful. They are warm and real, with varying degrees of unconventional... The are quite different from each other, but still they connect... The reader becomes very close to them... The themes of civil violence, a desire to better one's life, and the dilemma of how to do it-legally or illegally-make it a great book for class discussions on current events... The writing is so rich that it would also be a great read-aloud." -- VOYA, 5Q-highest rating, "hard to imagine it being better written,"4P-"broad general or genre YA appeal"
Red Glass was inspired by over ten years of friendships with ESL students, immigrants, and refugees who shared their stories with me and showed me how a person can live a meaningful, joyful life despite past traumas and losses. I love the human connections that form between people of vastly different cultures and backgrounds-not only bonds people have formed with me, but bonds my immigrant friends form with each other.
In Red Glass, I tried to slip inside the minds and hearts and bodies of each of my characters and explore these connections-to explore how it feels to risk opening yourself up to love and friendship after losing so much.
As the immigration debate rages in the United States, I think it's important to let empathy and compassion guide us. How can we make laws and walls without truly understanding how it feels to be in another person's shoes? I think we need to dare to cross borders and boundaries-real or imagined-- and let ourselves make real, human connections.
Read more of my inspiration for characters and themes in Red Glass here.
- Readergirlz interview with playlist, book club party ideas, and more!
- Red Glass Discussion Guide and Activities (by Random House)
- Caring Hearts and Critical Minds: Literature, Inquiry, and Social Responsibility by Steven Wolk (with a chapter about using Red Glass with students)
- Red Glass Readers' Circle Guide available inside the paperback
- YA Highway Interview