THE TIME IT SNOWED IN PUERTO RICO by Sarah McCoy was published in August of 2009. I heard about the book because I met Sarah on Twitter and enjoy her positive, encouraging tweets for writers. I bought it because of the great reviews.
The novel is set during the 1960s in Puerto Rico, and is told from the perspective of eleven-year-old Verdita. From the moment the book begins, the reader is transported to the lush island setting and to the tween years–a very difficult time in the development of any child. With one foot in childhood and one foot in adolescence, Verdita tries to make sense of the men, women, and relationships around her. Her confusion places her in turmoil and she lashes out in thought and in deed to her mother when she finds out her mother is pregnant. Verdita comes of age through a series of hard lessons but always within the circle of an imperfect but tender family.
I’m not usually a fan of child narrators, but Verdita is extremely well written. Her sassy thoughts, faulty logic, and misplaced frustration make her extremely lovable and I couldn’t stop reading to find out how she’d make it through the story. McCoy’s development of character and setting are superb, and Verdita’s family was so rich and authentic they felt as if they’d come off the page. From home cooking, to holiday celebrations, to tragedy, the world of Verdita’s family was fully rendered and compelling.
I highly recommend THE TIME IT SNOWED IN PUERTO RICO if you enjoy original coming of age stories. Sarah McCoy set the bar high with her debut. I look forward to reading McCoy’s second novel, THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER, when it comes out early next year.