TITLE: THROUGH THE WALLED CITY
GENRE: YA Magical Realism
Fifteen-year-old Micaela Uribe’s trip to Cartagena, Colombia comes with a side of magic: slipping through the city’s past. Now she must decipher Time’s message before she loses the boy, her grandmother, and her life.
Miami is hot in the summer. Cartagena, apparently, is hell.
At least that’s how it feels when I walk out of the airplane, carry-on bag over my shoulder, and onto the rolling platform they’ve set before us. The mid-afternoon sun is almost white against blue of the sky. And worse yet, except for the few hills way out there in the distance, the outlook is bleak: run-down warehouses and colorless buildings with patches of rowdy grass. Everything looks ancient and moldy.
“ Bienvenida a Colombia,” I mutter.
In front of me, the rest of the passengers crawl down, pausing in between steps to gesture and point. At what, I don’t know and I don’t care. Hurry up. Sweat runs down my face, down my neck and back, gluing my pink tank top to my skin. Even my white linen pants are heavy and sticky with this heat. What was I thinking wearing long pants? More importantly: what were my parents thinking, sending me here? Summer’s my time. I had plans. I don’t see why my grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary has to trump my sixteenth birthday. They’ve had forty-nine of them. I only turn sixteen once.
“You’ll fall in love with the magic of the city,” Mami promised. Yeah, right— especially if the rest of Cartagena is like this: old and decrepit. But then she went a step further, adding the words that lodged the infamous Hispanic guilt right smack in the middle of my chest: “It would make your abuelitos so happy to see you there.”