“The Same Sky” by Amanda Eyre Ward is a powerful novel about Alice Conroe, a 40-year old woman from Austin, Texas who wants to adopt a child with her husband, Jake. Together, they own a very successful BBQ restaurant. Unable to conceive, she tries unsuccessfully to adopt but her fate is altered by a young girl she has never met.
That young girl is twelve-year old Carla Trujillo from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Carla’s mother fled to Texas years before when Carla was five-years old, successfully making the illegal journey. She has been sending money home to Carla’s grandmother to provide for the children left behind. Poverty and violence surround their tiny Honduran shack. When the grandmother dies, Carla is now the head of the household. She has no choice but to go to the dump every day scouring for whatever piece of food she can salvage for herself and her younger brother. It is never enough.
The chapters are narrated alternately by Carla and Alice, and the writing reflects their own personalities.
Carla is smart and courageous but she cannot keep Junior safe. Carla decides her only hope is finding her mother so with her younger brother, Junior, the twin left behind, she makes the dangerous journey across the border to Texas.
The contrasts between the abundance in America and the bleak harshness of Honduras are evident throughout the story. The research for this novel had to be painstakingly done. According to the author’s website, Ms. Ward visited Brownsville, Texas and San Diego, California shelters to talk to unaccompanied minors who had been caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally.
By the end of the novel Carla’s and Alice’s lives intersect with each of them coming closer to finding what both had been searching for.