California Sunrise


After exhausting every avenue available to her, Alicia Fuentes turns to Dr. Raul Mendez as her last hope in finding a diagnosis for her son Luis. When Luis is deemed too young to receive an official diagnosis of Asperger’s, Raul commits to helping her beyond the professional level. Just as their relationship begins to grow deeper, with the hope of love and new beginnings, outside politics and prejudices threaten to destroy their budding romance.  With each holding fast to their own beliefs, can they still find common ground and push forward? 

From the very first page readers will find that Ms. Dawes is not afraid to bring up taboo and often sensitive topics. The author does a wonderful job bringing to light Alicia’s heart ache and struggles. While some may feel that the deck is stacked against her - as a  single teenage mother whose son has special needs - great care is taken to show Alicia’s grit and a perseverance to build a better life for herself and her son, and avoid  becoming another statistic. In contrast, some may take offense to the emotionally charged topic of undocumented citizenship being broached; however Ms. Dawes does a superb job in presenting and blending both sides of the debate to her characters. While the chemistry between Raul and Alicia is well written, some may find their repeated break-ups and reconciliations to be both predictable and exasperating. Ms. Dawes’s gumption shines through with her talent and moxie to craft a story that is sure to provoke a reader's thinking!

Stephanie Lodes