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Forest World

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A middle grade novel in verse that tells the story of a Cuban-American boy who visits his family’s village in Cuba for the first time—and meets a sister he didn’t know he had.

Edver isn’t happy about being shipped off to Cuba to visit the father he barely knows. The island is a place that no one in Miami ever mentions without a sigh, but travel laws have suddenly changed, a
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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3.66  · 
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 ·  196 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Edver is sent off to Cuba for the summer to stay with a father he doesn't even remember. Who does he discover is also there? A sister he never knew about. His father is carefully guarding a remote part of the rainforest from those who would take its treasures while his mother travels the world seeking species once thought to be extinct. Then Edver and his sister learn of the presence in the forest of a man who would steal its treasures and they must work together to battle him.

Cuba came alive f
Ms. Yingling
E ARC from Edleweiss Above the Treeline.

Novel in verse. Did not meet the needs of my collection at this time.
I think I’ve read all of Margarita’s books, and enjoyed each one for the content that is so expertly woven in, the voice(s) that strongly tell the story, and the background scenes enhancing the story. This time two children tell duo stories. One concerns the environmental issues that concern Cuba, flora and fauna endangered by clear cutting forests in order to plant more crops and by those who would steal species in order to sell for profit. The other shows two children, pulled apart by a mothe ...more
Sarah Hannah
This is going near the top of my list for Margarita Engle's books. You can tell how passionate she is about biodiversity and conservation, and dit shows in the characters and the plot. I think it's because it's narrative verse that it feels a bit over the top in the climax, but really it's like any other middle grade book where kids get to save the world, and this time the stakes are literally the earth, and that's awesome. I will definitely recommend this to a lot of people.
Patricia Powell
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cuban-American poet, Margarita Engle, tells the story of a pre-teen sister and brother, reunited in Cuba in “Forest World” (Atheneum 2017).
When the siblings were quite young, their mother fled Cuba to America by raft with her infant son Edver, leaving behind Luza with her father in their Cuban rainforest home. Now she’s sent Edver to Cuba to meet relatives he doesn’t know. He didn’t even know he had a sister. Luza, a year older remembers the dramatic exodus and has suffered, wondering why her
Tonja Drecker
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Through lovely rhyme and verse, this tale paints a plot with feelings and emotions, allowing the beauty and depth to meld with adventure.

Edver and Luza might be brother and sister, but they come from two very different worlds. When Edver's mother suddenly sends him away from Florida to travel to Cuba, he's not sure what to make of anything. Especially when he meets Luza, the sister he didn't know that exists. Confusion reigns, but as they grow together, an adventure begins which will bond them f
Mackenzie Schley
Novel in Verse Selection
Published August, 2017

This novel in verse alternates between two siblings, Edver and Luza. The story jumps in to the moment that 11-year-old Edver is set to spend his summer in Cuba with his father whom he has not seen since he left Cuba as a baby. When he arrives, he discovers that the surprise his mother told him about is actually his 12-year-old sister Luza. The back and forth of the alternating viewpoints allows the reader to glimpse both sides of the struggle as the
Claire Noland
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels-in-verse
Forest World (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) is her latest middle grade verse novel which follows the journey Cuban-born but U.S. raised Edver unwillingly takes to his birthplace to see his father. Imagine his surprise when he meets twelve-year-old Luza, a sister he didn’t know he had, who lives in the forest with their father and grandfather. Luza’s excitement over meeting her long-lost brother sours when she sees his spoiled American behavior. The story is told in their alternating voices a ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Edver isn’t pleased to be headed to Cuba to meet his father for the first time since he was a baby. Now that the laws have changed, families can once again be reunited with people who escaped to the United States from Cuba. Edver has to leave behind the Internet and his favorite video game and cope with power outages and a lack of transportation and other technology. When he gets to Cuba, Edver discovers that he has an older sister that he’d never known about. Luza had stayed with her father in ...more
Yoo Kyung Sung
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cuba
A Cuban-American teenager, Edver in Florida travels to see his father and unknown sister, Luza in Cuba. With one year age difference, their approach to getting to know each other’s newly-discovered sibling takes time, yet they both want to make a sense of the shape of their family and even recover la familia. When they were new to each other, their cultural differences seem to set them apart even farther. Edver grew up in Florida and he needs a smartphone and internet to have true fun while Luza ...more
Mary Sanchez
Cuban born Edver, raised in the United States, isn't pleased that his mother, is sending him to the Cuban jungle to meet his father who hasn't seen him since birth. In Cuba, Edver discovers he has poor access to the internet and to his favorite video games. He now has a grandfather he didn't know; an older twelve-year-old sister, Luza; and the knowledge that both their parents work to save endangered species.

Luza wonders why her mother left her in Cuba, yet took her younger brother, and as the
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Engle writes about the divorce of a family under an oppressive political system. We can sort of see the root cause of this family's separation, but the story lurches away from a political discussion and moves against a woman's choice to pursue a career. The mother is shamed and identified as a crazy mom, a negligent mom, a lying mother, and someone who sacrifices her family for herself. There is never even an explanation for why a mother would be so cruel as to not tell a son that he has a sibli ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is written in two voices, a brother &a sister. The family was torn apart when the mother with her infant son escapes Cuba just before the boarders closed. He is raised in America and never knew that in addition to leaving his father and the rest of their family, they also left a sister. She grows up in the forest of Cuba.
Both sides of the family work to protect the environment, but the mother, a cryptozoologist, travels around the world looking for previously thought extinct animal
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This book had such a great premise -- a boy who left Cuba with his mom goes back to visit his family for the first time... and discovers he has a sister! The descriptions of life in Cuba and the adjustment of an American to a different culture were so well done. Maybe I'm being petty with my rating, but I felt like the plot went a little off the rails in the last third of the book.

They create a fake description of a rare insect to lure their scientist mom to Cuba. In the meantime, they
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
A charming verse novel I read for my Eco Literature Book Group. This one is set in Cuba, where siblings Edver and Luza meet for the first time. Their mother had left Cuba years earlier with baby Edver, now a resident of Miami, leaving Luza in the care of her parents and father on their remote mountainside. The 2 grow closer as they learn that they have similar feelings of abandonment by their Mami, now a famous photojournalist who travels all over the word for months at a time. In a quest to con ...more
Stephanie Tournas
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Another novel in poetic prose by Engle prompts me to ask, How does she do it? Her spare but lush language tells the story, paints the picture, and illuminates subtle emotions. Edver, coming from Miami to visit his father in Cuba, meets Luz, a sister he never knew he had. Luza is heartbroken that their mother didn't tell Edver about her, so they both have a lot to sort through about each other. As a part of their complicated feelings about their mother, they set in motion on the internet a chain ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great, quick middle school read. This is a novel in verse and makes a great science/literature tie-in. The story is about a Cuban family divided by choice and two countries who now, thanks to reduced restrictions, can come together...maybe. Edver goes to meet his father, grandfather and surprise sister in Cuba whom he has not seen since his mother left for Miami on a boat when he was a baby. Both parents are scientists and fight for endangered species. Edver and Luza learn to respect each other ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Awards Won- none
Genre- realistic fiction
Summary- Luza and Edver are brother and sister but have never met, Edver didn't know Luza existed until he came to Cuba to met his dad. There is a lot of confusion, anger, and hurt within both of these children. Through wildlife conservation Luza and Edver finally build a relationship they have been deprived for 12 years.
My view- I really liked the story, and that it showed both views of the kids. I just felt at the end there were so many things left un
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Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Edver is sent from Miami to Cuba for the summer to a father, grandfather, and surprise sister he's never heard of. Edver's first visit is like time, space, and family travel just a few dozen miles apart. Both Liza and Edver understand and appreciate their parent's work identifying and protecting rain forest species, but feel completely in the dark about the separation and why they know so little about each other. Their relationship has its ups and downs throughout the summer. Their attempt to lu ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, juvenile, realistic
Generally, I enjoy Engle's works, but this felt a bit unfinished to me. I don't think the relationships were explored to the extent I would have preferred; I'm left without a clear sense of what might be in store for these characters. I felt the ending was a bit rushed as well. While, overall, I think the prose format works for this story, in another sense, I think this really could have benefit from a fuller fleshing out.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Siblings, Edver and Luza, were separated from each other when they were both very young. Eleven year-old Edver has come to Cuba for a visit and he has to find a way to get to know his father and grandfather, and a sister he didn't know existed! A lush setting, poetic language as well as an intriguing mystery will keep readers turning pages through to the end of this exciting and illuminating story. For nature lovers, ages 9 - 14, Forest World by Margarita Engle is a beautiful introduction to the ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This contemporary novel in verse is perfect for middle grade readers and short enough for a class read aloud. Engle writes beautiful and creates strong, distinct voices for Edver and Luza, two siblings separated by the political disparities between Cuba and the US. They meet for the first time as tweens and struggle to relate, bond, and communicate as essential strangers. Engle weaves a good deal of themes into the short novel, focusing much on the lush endemic attributes of Cuba and the very re ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Free verse poetry children's novel. Themes of fractured families, biological conservation, home, what is wealth. It'd be a great companion book to the True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp and Out of the Dust books I taught 4th graders this year! Has a little bit of the daring of Hoot and Scat. Recommend for anyone (adults too) - especially high readers 8 and older or those interested in nature (has a high lexile level, 1240)
Mary Lee
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The power of family, the fight to save the ecoregions of Cuba (and threatened/endangered/endemic/Lazarus species of the world), an ecological crime mystery...all told in verse and in her #ownvoice so we can be sure the depictions of rural Cuba and a Cuban-American from Miami are accurate.
Engle tried to cover too many bases here— a family split when one parent leaves Cuba with one child, and one parent stays with the other. The story begins when the children meet for the first time in the jungle of Cuba, where their father protects the mountain from poachers. The verse style really works to develop the characters, and the core of the story is strong. There are just too many plot points to care about as the story progresses.
Sandy Brehl
Intriguing, charming characters, these long-separated siblings are each densely developed and sympathetic. The rarified environment in which the story unfolds (and it really is exotic)adds to the nearly magical atmosphere that elevates this firmly-realistic story to a higher atmosphere. Plenty of action and adventure to sustain attention and enthusiastic reading.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
It was an interesting premise and written in verse. The wildlife descriptions were really well done. A glance into post-war life in Cuba and families broken up and separated between Cuba and Florida.
I would recommend as a middle grade book for children who are interested in stories about animals, nature conservation, history, or family.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book of poems, but it reads more like a novel. It was a unique style that I enjoyed. The main characters were a boy from Florida and his Cuban sister - a sister he didn't know existed until he traveled to Cuba to meet his father for the first time. I learned a bit about Cuba, a bit about poaching and a bit about family dynamics. All in all, a great read.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interestingly woven tale of separated siblings, U.S.-Cuban politics, family and marital dynamics, and biological crime...written in verse. It's ambitious, and it mostly succeeds. Engle's language is the driving force.
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Margarita Engle is a Cuban-American poet, novelist, and journalist whose work has been published in many countries. She lives with her husband in northern California.
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