Release date: May 21, 2019
Publisher: Lake Union
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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.
If you’re searching for a book to give you all the feels and one that will also restore your faith in humanity my friends then look no further. I’ve become a super fan of CRH over the past few years and this is my favorite of hers to date. Well, of the ones I’ve actually read because have you seen her backlist?! Impressive. But seriously, this is a special book and one that I won’t soon forget.
The driving force behind what makes a CRH fantastic is the incredible characterization, no doubt about it. She also has an incredible knack for telling stories about unlikely friendships that will tug at your heartstrings like no other and this was no exception. Raymond is a teenaged kid who I wanted to mother myself after just a few pages, this kid 😍 He is not your typical boy, he’s more mature and self aware than many adults, the kind of kid that would make every parent extremely proud, except for his own parents, which is such a shame. Millie lives in the same building as Raymond and the relationship between these two was beautiful and just so so special. What could a ninety year old and a sixteen year old possibly have in common? You’ll have to read yourself to truly understand, but the short answer is they have just enough in common to forge an amazing bond.
Yet another one of my favorite things about CRH is her ability to address current societal issues head on, but at the same time she’s not pushing a personal agenda or shoving things in the readers face. She’s exploring problematic issues in a sensitive and respectful manner and she always makes me think. As always this would be ideal for a book club or a buddy read, there is much to discuss, I know I’ve been dying to talk about this one with someone since I’ve finished! (If you’ve read it please let me know) Highly recommended by me, really to anyone who just likes a really well written and engaging story!
Have You Seen Luis Velez? in three words: Moving, Encouraging and Special.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.