Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a novel that completely sweeps you off your feet. The characters are relatable and interesting, while the story is constantly evolving and intriguing at the same time. Also, the book examines the theme of sight and perception on many levels that it really makes you think long after reading.Title: Have You Seen Luis Velez?
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a moving novel about two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear.
Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?
Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.
Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: Have You Seen Luis Velez
What makes Have You Seen Luis Velez? so fascinating is the mesh of so many characters that are of differing abilities, ages, and backgrounds. The book is told from the perspective of Raymond, a black teenager who is finding it hard to fit in at home and at school. His quest to help a 92 year old blind neighbour turns into an unlikely friendship, and helps Raymond see the world and its people in a completely new light. Each of the characters has their flaws, but the fact that they are all so eager to see things from one another’s perspectives without prejudice makes the book a real learning experience.
❀ Fantastic Coming of Age Novel
As the plot moves forward, Raymond meets quite a few different people named Luis Velez. As he continues to track down the whereabouts of his friend’s caretaker, Raymond learns new information about the world and how he fits into it. Also, there are so many layers to the novel that when the plot moves past what happened to Luis Velez and what happens next, Raymond seems to come full circle in his understanding. This is a fantastic coming of age novel that should definitely be considered a YA crossover.
❀ Many Lessons to be Learned
Catherine Ryan Hyde has definitely created a novel that teaches its readers about quite a few different ways of seeing the world. At the forefront is perceiving without the use of sight, and there are many lessons to be learned from both Millie and Raymond. It is both heart-warming and shocking to read at times. One that I highly recommend!