There are so many themes in this book I don't know which to tackle first. The author did a brilliant job of diving deep into them all - family, friendship, loyalty, patriotism, immigration, and special needs. Wow!
Galan is a Cuban immigrant who was brought to the United States by his father as a child. He has been separated from his mother and special-needs sister since that trip because his mother jumped off the raft with his sister. After his mother's death, his sister is passed between relatives who are unable to care for her. Galan is determined to find a way to smuggle her to Puerto Rico, where he now lives.
Pat is a young, dedicated Coast Guard officer and Galan's neighbor and friend. He owes a lot to Galan, who has looked out for him in Puerto Rico and got him out of a few jams of Pat's own making. He looks up to the older Galan and is sympathetic to his sister's plight but is still very loyal to his country and his job. This situation will test his loyalty to all parties.
Galan and Pat are both complex characters. The author did an amazing job of developing them and setting up an impossible conflict. You just have to read it!