New York Times Bestseller
MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK of 2022 by TIME, HipLatina, Parade, The Rumpus, Angela Lashbrook, Vogue.com, Goodreads, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Bustle, Kirkus, Book Riot, Popsugar, Barnes & Noble, The Stacks, Russh, Boston Globe, and more!
"Don’t underestimate this new novelist. She’s jump-starting the year with a smart romantic comedy that lures us in with laughter and keeps us hooked with a fantastically engaging story." —The Washington Post
A blazing talent debuts with the tale of a status-driven wedding planner grappling with her social ambitions, absent mother, and Puerto Rican roots—all in the wake of Hurricane Maria
It's 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo, are boldfaced names in their hometown of New York. Prieto is a popular congressman representing their gentrifying Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn, while Olga is the tony wedding planner for Manhattan’s power brokers.
Despite their alluring public lives, behind closed doors things are far less rosy. Sure, Olga can orchestrate the love stories of the 1 percent but she can’t seem to find her own. . . until she meets Matteo, who forces her to confront the effects of long-held family secrets.
Olga and Prieto’s mother, Blanca, a Young Lord turned radical, abandoned her children to advance a militant political cause, leaving them to be raised by their grandmother. Now, with the winds of hurricane season, Blanca has come barreling back into their lives.
Set against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, Xochitl Gonzalez’s Olga Dies Dreaming is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife, and the very notion of the American dream—all while asking what it really means to weather a storm.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Olga Dies Dreaming kicks off as a smart, snarky romantic comedy—then immediately expands into something even better. At 40, Olga Acevedo is one of New York’s hottest wedding planners. When she has an impulsive one-night stand with Matteo, a quirky realtor from her old Brooklyn neighborhood, it seems like we’re in for the familiar story of the ambitious career woman who rediscovers what she’s lost. That’s not what happens. First-time author Xochitl Gonzalez adds other fascinating characters, like Olga’s similarly career-driven congressman brother (who has his own troubles) and an absent mother who abandoned the family to become a pro-independence Puerto Rican revolutionary. Plus, the story unfolds just before Hurricane Maria destroyed much of Puerto Rico in 2017. We were amazed by Gonzalez’s talent for exploring big themes like gentrification, colonialism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, and corruption while still keeping things zipping right along. Olga Dies Dreaming is destined to become an iconic New York City novel.
Gonzalez's edifying debut follows a successful Puerto Rican Brooklynite with family baggage that increasingly disrupts her life. Olga, 40, a wedding planner and frequent guest on morning TV shows, rubs shoulders and sometimes more with her wealthy, powerful clients. Her older brother, Prieto, who is secretly gay, has risen through the local political ranks to become a U.S. congressman who represents their Sunset Park neighborhood. The siblings' beloved pap , once a charismatic activist for Puerto Rican independence, fell into heroin addiction and died when Olga was still a teen, and their mam remained true to the cause, leaving her children to work with a covert paramilitary group. Olga does not know, but Prieto has been the victim of blackmail for years by a couple of real estate moguls with whom she is acquainted, who've made a killing off their Puerto Rican community in Brooklyn. Details about their pap 's life and tragic death, as well as his blackmailers' sinister intentions in Puerto Rico, add poignancy to Prieto's troubles, and each sibling faces a crisis of conscience when Hurricane Maria hits and their mam issues a dubious ultimatum. The expository dialogue often feels stilted, but the characters' yearning to see the island thrive adds passion and complexity. Gonzalez elevates this family drama with a great deal of insight on the characters' diaspora and politics.
Eye-opening book that quickly moves into important ideas after starting as something else . Be prepared. Fast moving, great characterizations, real. Superb,y done. Some of the dialogue a bit stilted, it not enough to birth the overall effect. A shocker. Highly recommended.
Loved this book!
Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the advanced copy of this audiobook. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
In Olga Dies Dreaming, you get a birds-eye view into the Acevedo siblings’ lives. Olga and Prieto’s stories weave back and forth between 2017 Brooklyn and through letters their mother wrote them after she disappeared when Olga was only 13, to fight for revolution and Puerto Rico’s independence. Olga is a wedding planner for rich people with too much money, and Prieto is a US representative. In 2017, Hurricane Maria hits, and their mother, Blanca, also appears back in their lives.
Olga Dies Dreaming is extremely character-driven, which I love, because I really felt like I got to know both Olga and Prieto throughout the book. I can definitely see this being one of my top reads of 2022.
An excellent novel by Xochitl Gonzalez, and it’s hard to believe it’s a debut. The narrators were also incredible. Kudos to Almarie Guerra, Armando Riesco, and Inés del Castillo.
This is a book that’s hard to put down. The characters and the plot are always in motion and I find myself wanting to continue reading even though I have to stop to sleep or drive my kids to karate. Couldn’t have loved a new read more