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Bruno Blog

Sandra Bruna Literary Agency

STARTING OVER

Author: Sandra Bruna Thursday 29 June 2017

Last week, while reading El Pais, I couldn’t stop thinking about the latest Young Adult novel by Care Santos -the sequel of her book MENTIRA (‘Lies’), winner of the Edebé Prize and a huge bestseller. VERDAD (‘Truth’) deals with how Eric gets out of the juvenile center after four years interned, as he’s been absolved from the murder case of which he was unjustly accused at fourteen. In MENTIRA, you understand Eric and you want him to get out because he’s innocent, and in VERDAD you see how difficult it is to be accepted. Is that situation fair?

Reading the novel, I thought that it isn’t, nonetheless, as I read the news in El Pais about the rapist of La Paz’s neighbourhood (Madrid), I thought differently. This rapist, after raping more than 18 girls and killing two, got out of prison after 21 years behind bars, because psychologists said he was ‘sorry for it’. But he didn’t waste any time to rape and kill again. Maybe it’s an extreme case, but unfortunately it is not isolated. No one should be judged by the same pattern, but it’s difficult to ‘forgive’ someone that kills and rapes -I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel it, although everyone can change and improve for the better, thus everyone should have the right to a second chance. In my opinion, the elevator rapist didn’t deserve it, but Eric does, he’s a young and innocent kid and in the novel, you see how tough reality is when he tries to get back into society. It’s hard for him not to fall back again into delinquency when his surroundings want him to, as it is getting back in track with his studies, finding a job, getting away from his neighbourhood…Xenia helped him overcome some barriers that he thought were unbreakable, but… will love be strong enough to overcome the difficulties now?

Care Santos talks again about a prickly matter that has to be dealt with carefully, and she doesn’t generalize, even if it’s hard. Nonetheless, Eric deserves that chance, and he fights for it. An example to follow, without a doubt, and I wish this novel becomes a reason to reflect upon these kind of matters, both for young readers and grown-ups.

HOLIDAYS, FUN AND TIBIDABO

Author: Sandra Bruna Thursday 22 June 2017

Today is the first day of holidays for the kids. Summer is here. I’ve got such good memories of my childhood summers: together with my siblings, on the beach and on the mountain with my parents and grandparents. We’ve always been a family that has enjoyed doing things together, and as I’ve got unique grandpas and grandmas who have always wanted to spend these times with us, I remember fondly the first two weeks of August in Sant Pol. I still go on holidays there, and I remember eating altogether in a large table from one of those hotels of this fantastic Maresme’s town. We shared the beach, meals, and a terrace in front of the sea, where we spoke, despite being teenagers, with all the grown-ups at the table. We lived fantastic and unique moments, unforgettable to me. When I’m there and I breath the smell of the sea, these fond and happy memories come to me. I’ve got plenty of them, and I keep them safe in my mind.

In the summer, we always went to the cinema or to the Tibidabo’s amusement park. If we went with our grandparents, we had to go by tram and the adventure was even greater. Even though I’ve never liked fairground rides, I must confess that Tibidabo was a nice park with charisma. When I read the latest novel by Sílvia Tarragó, T’HO DONARÉ TOT, published by Columna, I had these small moments of longing, and I also immersed myself in a story I didn’t know anything about -and I’ve loved learning about it. Who invested in this park? How did everything start? We’ve got the history of Tibidabo and its characters: two of the daughters of one of the workers from its urbanization in the first decades of the 20th century. On the background, there is a cosmopolitan and precocious Barcelona and, at the top of the cake, a story filled with love, intrigue and drama.

This is the perfect novel for this summer, for those who want to be addicted to a novel where it’s told the history of one of the oldest amusement parks of the world (not only of Spain or Europe!), along with a great family fiction that will hook you from the first page. For any reader of SUEÑOS A MEDIDA and HABITACIONES CERRADAS, you should read Sílvia Tarragó if you haven’t discovered her yet. Hers is a strong feminine voice that steps on the gas pedal of the bumper car in order to get to a wider audience. They’re captivated by how well she combines history and fiction. Don’t miss it!

CHIAROSCURO

Author: Sandra Bruna Thursday 15 June 2017

The school year is about to finish. Another year over, they all think, and three months ahead of holidays. I wish I could have them now! I remember saying to my parents, when it was summer that I was bored. Today I think that I’d love to have some time to get bored —look how things change! When you have a kid, who is almost a teenager, you start to see how important it is to them to be part of the group, and how with new technologies they’ve lost all oral communication, and are able to say many things through the phone, but nothing while looking on the eyes. This is a double-edged sword, and kids who are constantly doing this have to learn how to properly use these technologies, because in some cases it can be really harmful what one writes in a WhatsApp group. No one likes to be the weird one of the group, although maybe someone prefers it and it’s their choice in order to isolate themselves from something they dislike, as in the new novel by Francesc Miralles. In TÚ ERES LA NOCHE (‘You’re the Night’), we discover a group of people who can’t or doesn’t want to see the sunlight. They’re not vampires, but they live underground during the day, separated from the world we know.

The main character, Rai, meets by accident an undercover club that is frequented by those who have decided to live against the sunlight and live at night, among which we can find Lucia, an eighteen-year-old girl with self-destructive tendencies who Rai feels really attracted to. A week there is the minimum time to become an initiated, two weeks of access into The Cage of Darkness, a well under the Catacombs where darkness reigns and it’s possible to do the final test. Will Lucia be a part of the underground group? Will Rai be able to blend in for her, and leave behind his life?

This is a love story, about understanding and misunderstandings, that will appease all young readers and Miralles’ fans, who with his previous novels as well, such as PULSACIONES or RETRUM, talks about feelings of people who aren’t part of the ‘normal’. But do we know what is normal nowadays? That’s why I loved this novel, and I believe we all should read it, because Francesc, masterful as always, puts on the table really meaningful themes that will hook you in, and you’ll fall in love with the well-developed story between Rai and Lucia. Congratulations, Francesc, you’ve done it again. A delightful novel that can be dark at the same time, with the perfect dose so that everything happens for a reason.

LOVE CROSSES BORDERS AND SCREENS

Author: Sandra Bruna Thursday 8 June 2017

We live in a world where social media is part of our lives and of our children’s. For me, I have to confess, it is a little scary, but we cannot close our eyes and do as if that didn’t exist. The thing we can do is to make our own decisions and see if we want to dive into this world, and how we want to do it. If we know how and why we want to, there shouldn’t be any problem, and relationships through the Internet don’t have to be negative. Sometimes, they can even surprise you.

The novel TODAS MIS FOTOS HABLAN DE TI (All My Photos Speak of You), by Cristina Maruri, is one of the newer bets by Ediciones B, by their new imprint Plan B, and I’m sure that anyone who enjoyed Against the North Wind, by Daniel Glattauer, and/or the movie You’ve Got Mail, is going to fall in love with this story that starts with some pictures posted on Instagram. The rest of the story has to do with the beauty in things and with our ability to click likes. Laura, the main character, writes and travels, William reads and is a photography lover, and Julles is in love. The three of them make a love triangle. Laura lives between the real and virtual world, and isn’t sure about which one to choose. One is solid and stable, and the other is all magic, like in a dream, but instead it is on the other side of the screen and through pictures that both of them post on Instagram. Can you fall in love with someone only because of what you see through their photos? Can you fall in love with someone through their writing? Who is the person behind each passion, each character?

Cristina Maruri debuts with one of the first novels about LOVE via Instagram, one of the social media most used in the past few years, and she does it with a literary and clean voice that will captivate anyone who believes in their passions, their illusions and that life is all about dreaming with open eyes. And dreams are there to make them happen and to reach them. Will Laura make it? A special novel to read this summer and live LOVE in capital letters.

PAINTING YOUR FACE WITH COLOR HOPE

Author: Sandra Bruna Thursday 1 June 2017

This book is, once again, special to me, because I’ve got a personal story with the author and this turns it into one of those that adds up to your life. To me, working with Alba hasn’t been work, but a huge pleasure —meeting her has been one of the most magical things that have happened to me in the past few months. When I received an e-mail signed with the name ‘Hope’ —which already raised my interest—, I thought that it was a person that had many things to say. And, precisely, that’s what happened. Even though we receive many e-mails from authors that want us to help them with their manuscripts, we have to reject them because we cannot take that much work: we wouldn’t be helpful to them, on the contrary. However, Hope’s mail caught my attention and I went to her blog to read what she wrote: I discovered a fresh voice, different and solid, that made me go to the city of Blanes, to her house, in order to meet her. That’s not what I usually do, but my instinct told me to ‘help’ her make her dream come true. However, Hope is the pen-name of Alba Saskia, a 25-year-old girl who had already written a novel about overcoming personal struggles, and had already earned an open door to the publishing world, as it had been shortlisted for the Planeta Award. They also saw, like me, that behind that novel there was a unique voice, different and very strong.

Alba suffers from a disease that only 80 people over the world have: The Brown Vialetto Van Laere Syndrome, a strange neurodegenerative sickness. But she smiles, she’s a strong and happy woman, with many illusions who led her to write CON UN PAR DE ALAS (already in bookstores). She started to write to be active, because she lost some of her hearing due to her disease, was admitted to the hospital and couldn’t even walk nor eat. Her blog Infinity Hope saved her, along with the unconditional support from her family, which never fails you and is always there, either for better or for worse. Therefore, Alba wrote a wonderful blog and, later on, she dared to write this novel, which was selected among the hundreds of originals that are sent to the Planeta Award and that the editor Lola Gulias couldn’t let go. Nonetheless, Alba let me help her in this journey and, although she had already entered this business, she trusted us and the job we do. After that meeting, unforgettable to me, at her place in Blanes along with her sister —who is a beautiful person and was pregnant at the moment. She even baked us some delicious biscuits to make us feel like home!—, we were all there, my father and even my son, who came with me (and he never does, but everything happens for a reason). This meeting was special for the three of us, and I hope that it also was it for Alba. Now it’s when the long-run race starts, and I hope we can get many readers from all over the world to read this story.

It isn’t a self-help story, but a story about overcoming your own struggles, for all of us who believe there’s always hope. This is Lía’s story, who after living in Tarifa a heart-wrenching love story with Hugo, comes back to Barcelona heartbroken. Her friend Manu welcomes her in and gives her thirty days to put herself back together. In the meantime, Perpetua, Lía’s mother, unaware of her daughter’s drama, keeps sending her letters to Tarifa whilst believing she’s still there. The unconditional help from Perpetua and Manu will be crucial so that Lía can start a new life, especially when María, and old friend with whom she shared years of study in a ballet school, appears and becomes the bridge to build a professional future doing what she loves: dancing. And Marcelo, a handsome water polo player, will be ready to accompany her to this new dance that is her life.

Sometimes, it seems like everything is going wrong, the sky becomes grey and there’s no way we can see the light of the sun once again, but with this novel, where friendship has a key role and, also, the passion to pursue a dream is really present, Alba manages to convey that if you want to, you can do it. That we must never lose hope. That if you do what you want and what you feel, you get where you want to. For this reason, this novel is for any reader, because it brims with HOPE, which is what Alba has tattooed on her skin, and she deftly portrays that in this novel, so well-written, and with such a strong voice, that it won’t leave you indifferent. She’s not ‘another’ writer, but the discovery of a new voice. Congratulations, Alba, for getting to this point, for having let me accompany you in this special adventure in which we’ve just started to spread our wings, because I hope that we can fly together far away, like you deserve, with the soundtrack of the song by Diego Torres, which always makes me think of you.

(In Spanish, the title of this blog post refers to the song by Diego Torres ‘Color Esperanza’)

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