The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico

In the tradition of Annie John and The House on Mango Street, a bewitching coming-of-age novel from a bright new literary talent.


Verdita Ortiz-Santiago has spent eleven years in her sleepy Puerto Rican mountain town and she’s desperate to break away from her sheltered home life. Over the course of two tumultuous years, Verdita experiences the rush of disobedience, the heartache of unforeseen consequences, and the bittersweet pains of adult understanding. And for Verdita, her family, and her island home, life will never be the same.


Rooted in author Sarah McCoy’s own heritage, Puerto Rico’s quiet interior towns, bustling San Juan, and the burgeoning Independence Movement all serve as a vibrant backdrop to Verdita’s journey. Sarah McCoy grew up visiting her grandparents and large extended family in Puerto Rico and her true experiences permeate every page, leaving readers an experience of the island in which they feel the ocean breeze, taste the rum in the coquito, and smell the sharp citrus of sour orange.


A moving portrait of adolescence, The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico is about much more than growing older. It is the universal story of discovering one’s own identity, the heartbreak of learning the truth about the people we love, and the difficulties of leaving behind one’s homeland for places unknown. With one of the most charming heroines in recent years, Sarah McCoy delivers a lyrical, authentic, and radiant debut.


Praise for The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico:

“This is a beautiful, little coming-of-age novel about one girl’s bittersweet journey of self-discovery. Steeped in Puerto Rican culture and rich in authentic detail, McCoy’s debut captures the essence of life in Puerto Rico and, without judgment, holds it up for comparison against the American way of life.”
-Booklist review


“This touching coming-of-age debut novel transcends borders and times. Readers will laugh and cry along with Verdita as she navigates a tumultuous adolescence, easily identifying with her problems and struggles. As a result, the novel will appeal to a wide range of readers, and the addition of discussion questions is a plus for book groups.”
Library Journal review


“The book is ripe with the lush island’s landscape, culture, and foods, as well as the political upheaval of the 1960s. Verdita’s experience, though, is universal, as she must reconcile both the passion she witnesses and the changes in her own body with a child’s perspective of the world. McCoy’s intoxicating novel is perfect for multicultural literature classes and best compares with Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (Knopf, 1994) and Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (Penguin, 1992).”
School Library Journal review


“McCoy’s lyrical writing is absorbing”
Publishers Weekly review


“Sarah McCoy tells a story of magic, myth, and mystery amid political and cultural unrest. You can’t help loving Verdita, the world she comes from and the world she yearns for. A delightful debut by a promising and saucy new writer.”
– Sheri Reynolds, author of A Gracious Plenty and Oprah’s Book Club Rapture of Canaan


“Like snow in Puerto Rico, this novel is a rare pleasure. A sparkling debut by a writer who possesses a feel for place and time, a sense of the sacrifices love calls us to, and an uncommon talent for mapping the territory of the heart.”
– Janet Peery, author of Alligator Dance and National Book Award Finalist The River Beyond the World


“Sarah McCoy has written a story so replete with sensuality, so infused with love and community, so exquisitely observant and poetic, the reader can only wish for a package tour to the dream that is Verdita’s life.”
– Sandra Scofield, author of Occasions of Sin and National Book Award Finalist Beyond Deserving



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