Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde

ebook, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 21st 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
About the Book:
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.

It struck him odd that he’d had to come to the home of a blind woman to be seen clearly.

Catherine Ryan Hyde has been one of my favourite go to authors since she came out with Pay it Forward in 1999. Have You Seen Luis Velez? just proves it is always smart to read a new book by a beloved writer. The beginning of this book made me think of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, because it has a child searching for something throughout New York, but that is where the similarities end.

For me - this is a perfect book. The setting and characters are so richly drawn that you will escape. There is enough plot to keep things moving but I didn't even need much plot here. It was beautifully written with complex characters - wonderful themes about religion, honesty, hypocrisy, racisim and love. I adored the main character, Raymond - he is so vividly drawn I remember him as if he were a real person.

The author wrote with wonderful imagery throughout the novel and the reader felt as if she was right there. The story keeps the reader engaged with Raymond and Millie's adventures. I think this is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. I was touched by this book. This book is to be read and enjoyed for the pain, values, and message that is spoken/unspoken in several difficult situations. Some of the most eloquent ideas about friendship, bullying, love, etc. I know not everyone has the same taste in literature, but I don't think you will be disappointed if you were to read this book.

Thank you NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Catherine Ryan Hyde for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own.

#HaveYouSeenLuisVelez #NetGalley


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