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Olga Dies Dreaming Bets On...

Olga Dies Dreaming

January 2022

As Xochitl Gonzalez’s debut novel, OLGA DIES DREAMING, started, I was thinking that it was going to be a light read. Olga is running a wedding planning business for the elite, and the tone has just the sense of humor you would expect from a really smart rom-com. But quickly I realized it was something more.

Olga and her brother, Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo, have been raised by their grandmother as their mother fled the country to go to Puerto Rico as a revolutionary. Their Brooklyn neighborhood is gentrifying in 2017, and they are torn between the way life was and what it is becoming. Prieto is a congressman who is very popular in his district; he can play both sides knowing what he needs from donors and what he has to bring to his constituents. His personal life, like Olga’s, is confusing to him. Who is he, and who does he want to be?

Olga is street smart and savvy. She plays men around her finger until she meets Matteo, who is not like any other man she has met. He has roots, and he is comfortable having a quiet evening with friends. The glitz and glamour is not his world. Olga starts to wonder if a man like that can be attractive to her.

The book is peppered with long diatribes from Olga and Prieto’s mother, Blanca. She lectures them, and we see them wondering what she really means by her preaching. She tries to recruit them to her cause, but how does this inform their lives?

Then a hurricane blows into Puerto Rico and wreaks destruction on a place that we often forget is part of the United States. What is our response like? What should it be? Suddenly, Olga and Prieto are juggling two different worlds --- the world of their culture where their mother lives and the one where they live their lives. Who is set to profit from what is happening on the island? And just where do they stand on all of this?

It’s the kind of book that you will find yourself thinking about after you close the last page as Xochitl has created such vivid scenes and characters. Oh, and for those of you wondering how she pronounces her name, it’s So–Cheel!

Olga Dies Dreaming
by Xochitl Gonzalez

  • Publication Date: February 7, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250786185
  • ISBN-13: 9781250786180