To sixteen-year-old Tina Aguilar, love is the center of her world with its warmth and ability to make a place into a home. Thus Tina is less than thrilled to return to her birthplace of Santiago, Chile, for the first time in eight years to visit her father, the man who betrayed her and her mother’s love through his political obsession and alcoholism. Tina is not surprised to find Papá physically disabled from his time as a political prisoner, but she is disappointed and confused by his constant avoidance of her company. So when Frankie, a mysterious, crush-worthy boy, shows interest in her, Tina does not hesitate to embrace his affection.
However, Frankie’s reason for being in Tina’s neighborhood is far from incidental or innocent, and the web of deception surrounding Tina begins to spin out of control. Tina’s heart is already in turmoil, but adding her and her family’s survival into the mix brings her to the edge of truth and discovery.
Romance and intrigue intertwine in Lyn Miller-Lachmann’s coming-of-age story set amidst the tense anticipation at the end of the Pinochet regime in 1989. Fans of Gringolandia will recognize the Aguilar family as they continue their story of survival and redemption.
“Smooth dialogue, a quick pace, and palpable suspense combine to make a compelling read. Supporting characters are treated with compassion; violence brings suffering to those on all sides. A riveting story of love and acceptance amid a tumultuous political landscape.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Miller-Lachmann’s companion to Gringolandia (2009) is intriguingly multilayered: she captures Tina’s ambivalent feelings about what constitutes home, the lingering danger in Chile even after Pinochet is deposed, and Tina’s exciting but ultimately risky romance with Frankie.” — Booklist
“While Surviving Santiago is a companion novel to Gringolandia, it can be read as a standalone. The setting in Chile creates a tense atmosphere for this historical novel.” — VOYA
“…explores complicated relationships and the self-empowerment that occurs when one accepts people for who they are.” — Leticia Urieta, Cleaver Magazine
“…uses political intrigue to powerfully illuminate questions of identity and the duties we have toward family.” — GuysLitWire
“Lyn Miller-Lachmann has once again done a superb job of sharing her insights into Chile and its political situation as represented in the lives of Tina and her family. The treatment of setting is superb and the Romeo-Juliet story of Tina and Frankie is heartfelt and captivating. Miller-Lachmann has done an inestimable service to the people of Chile by sharing their moving stories and telling the dramatic and often disturbing truth of their struggle for freedom.” — Michael Cart, award-winning author, Booklist contributor, leading expert on young adult literature
“Get it soon!…Tina is a girl who loves deeply and will not give up on people easily. Readers will enjoy getting to know her while learning a bit about the past.” — Rich in Color
“The layered narration allows readers to understand a bigger picture than Tina does herself. We find ourselves ripping through the pages in constant conversation with Tina trying to alert her to the full scope of the situation—before it is too late. I appreciate the many small details of this novel: the damaged parrots, the GLBT threads (that help show a bigger picture of both love and the ways we harm others), the music, the love of language, and more. In the end, this is a book about refusing to give up on family, regardless of the horrors heaped upon us and the blinding pain. The success of Surviving Santiago is that it refuses to remember Tina and her family as victims. We end this fine book with potential, with a future, just like the people of Chile or any country.” — Ed Spicer, Spicy Reads
“A brave and generous young woman proves the redemptive power of love.” — Suzanne Fisher Staples, author of Under the Persimmon Tree and Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind
“An electric mix of intrigue, mystery, and romance that envelops the reader in the spicy, smoggy city of Santiago.” — Nancy Bo Flood, author of Warriors in the Crossfire and No Name Baby
“It’s a thrill to sink into a story that feels so brave and important—the power and danger of naïve love in a place where politics are fierce and betrayal can come from anywhere.” — Jane Kurtz, author of Anna Was Here
Surviving Santiago. Publisher: Running Press, ISBN-13: 978-0-7624-5633-8.
2015 Moonbeam Award Gold Medalist, YA Historical/Cultural Fiction
2016 Finalist, YA Fiction, ForeWord Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards
Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of 2016 (Ages 14 and up)