2005 Michael L Printz Honor Book
Chandra struggles with the deaths of those around her and the shame of being molested as she continues her education and cares for her siblings and friend Esther, amidst the poverty and AIDs epidemic that plague her African homeland.
I had to order, and then wait for delivery of this one. It was a quick read, and unfortunately, it was only OK for me.
I didn’t think the execution of the idea lived up to what it maybe could have been. I didn’t think the writing was all that spectacular. On page 6 is this:
“Maybe they shooed her away,” I think.
It’s first person. The whole book is what Chanda is thinking, so I’m not sure why it was necessary to call attention to this with quotes and the dialogue tag. If it had simply read “Maybe they shooed her away.” I wouldn’t even have batted an eye. As it was, this felt clunky and sorted of colored my thinking for the rest of the book.
The setting of this book is a fictional country, but it was inspired by many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and their struggle with AIDS. I did find the descriptions of what life was like to be interesting. There are so many things I take for granted — this family didn’t even have running water! But I felt like this one was trying a little too hard.
The message was a little too obvious and maybe even heavy-handed. It felt like it was a little too much of a book written to instruct, and possibly be used in lit classes to torture teenage readers.
The whole thing just felt flat and a little one-dimensional. I had trouble connecting to and caring about much of anything in this one, which is too bad, because I felt like I *ought* to be connecting.