Spring 2024

Eyes Open

  • Interest Level: Grade 9 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 9

Portugal, 1967. Sónia thinks she knows what her future holds. She’ll become a poet, and together she and her artist boyfriend, Zé Miguel, will rise above the government restrictions that shape their lives. The restrictions on what Sónia can do and where she can go without a man’s permission. The restrictions on what music she can enjoy, what books she can read, what questions she can ask.

But when Zé Miguel is arrested for anti-government activities and Sónia’s family’s restaurant is shut down, Sónia’s plans are upended. No longer part of the comfortable middle class, she’s forced to leave school and take a low-paying, grueling, dangerous job. She thought she understood the dark sides of her world, but now she sees suffering she never imagined.

Without the protection of her boyfriend or her family, can Sónia find a way to fight for justice? This poignant novel in verse follows a teen girl discovering how to resist tyranny and be true to herself.

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Interest Level Grade 9 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 9
Genre Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: Social Class, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2024
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 352
Publication Date 2024-05-07
Text Type Fiction—Historical
BISACS YAF024050, YAF058280, YAF048000
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.25
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Reviewed, Starred Reviews, Teaching Guides, and eSource

Author: Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Lyn Miller-Lachmann is an author, educator, and editor. Her novels include Torch, winner of the 2023 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, Gringolandia, Rogue, Moonwalking, and Eyes Open. She earned a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, Lyn enjoys traveling to new places. She lives in New York City and lived part-time in Lisbon, Portugal, for many years.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Eyes Open

Portugal, 1967. Sónia thinks she knows what her future holds. She’ll become a poet, and together she and her artist boyfriend, Zé Miguel, will rise above the government restrictions that shape their lives. The restrictions on what Sónia can do and where she can go without a man’s View available downloads →

Eyes Open: An Interview with Author Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Thoroughly researched and resonant with our own times, Eyes Open is a historical novel in verse which follows on young woman’s coming of age during the Salazar dictatorship in 1960s Portugal. Sónia’s comfortable middle-class life is upended when her boyfriend is arrested for… View →

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  • Booklist Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth, Winner, 2024


Publishers Weekly

“Employing tightly bound poems, Miller-Lachman weaves the perils of authoritarianism into the dynamics between Sónia and her family, and highlights Sónia’s activist awakening and the power of protest.”—Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“The verse format allows Sónia’s poetic voice to shine, drawing readers into the stark reality she’s dealing with. . . Conveys harshness, beauty—and lingering hope.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews


“Beautifully and fluidly written, Miller-Lachmann’s memorable verse novel captures the setting splendidly, dramatizing the abysmal condition of women under the dictatorship.”—starred, Booklist

Melanie Crowder

“A revealing, timely glimpse into Portugal’s frighteningly recent history and a passionate, authentically teen portrait of one young woman finding her voice, claiming her power, and writing her way to freedom.”—Melanie Crowder, author of Jumper

Betty G. Yee

“Deeply engrossing and moving. Miller-Lachmann is masterful in showing us the heart of a girl who’s finding her voice and the soul of a country in conflict with itself.” —Betty G. Yee, author of Gold Mountain

Ellen Hopkins

“Sensuous. Atmospheric. Compelling. You won’t want to put this one down.”—Ellen Hopkins, author of the Crank trilogy

Kip Wilson

“Beautifully-written verse perfectly captures this young poet standing up to injustice. A must read!”—Kip Wilson, YA author of White Rose and The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin