I'm checking this one off my 12 x 12 list as "a book that was banned at one time." I'll get to that in a minute. What you need to know about this piece of historical fiction is that it is based on the lives of the revolutionaries of the revolt against the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic in the mid-1900s. Since this is based on true events, I don't consider it a spoiler by telling you that three of the girls--Patria, Minerva, and Mate Mirabal--are martyrs to the cause, leaving their sister Dede to tell their story. What I loved about the book was the author's depiction of each girl, following her from childhood through her dawning realization of the real events taking place in her country, and eventual decision to join the revolution. The chapters leading up to their crash were agonizing, while those following the death of the sisters, as Dede identifies their remains and washes her sisters for burial, were incredibly moving.
I will completely admit that my knowledge of Central and South America and the Caribbean is so completely limited that I knew nothing about this episode in history, nor of the horrors of the Trujillo dictatorship, which made it an educational read as well as an enjoyable one as I appreciated Alvarez's masterful characterizations. And the banned book part? The Port Washington School District in Port Washington, NY banned the book for its detailed drawing of the making of a bomb. Frankly, I think we have more pressing educational concerns.