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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming story of hope, courage, dreams and identity.
Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampo has lived her entire life in the tiny mining town of Tres Montes. Many of the young people dream of moving to the capital to find a job. Anything would be better than living in poverty with the future only promising the sudden death of a mining cave-in, or the slow death of a miner's lung disease. However, opportunities for the capital jobs...
Published on May 29, 2012 by Teen Reads

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quiet novel with strong setting
The people of Tres Montes in THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND by Meg Medina are superstitious. They believe that a young girl of sixteen, Sonia Ocampo, has the power to heal and to protect. But Sonia knows that she is nothing special and that she has been living a lie her entire life. When given the opportunity, Sonia travels to the capital to work at Casa Mason as a...
Published on March 20, 2012 by Muggle-Born


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming story of hope, courage, dreams and identity., May 29, 2012
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This review is from: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Hardcover)
Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampo has lived her entire life in the tiny mining town of Tres Montes. Many of the young people dream of moving to the capital to find a job. Anything would be better than living in poverty with the future only promising the sudden death of a mining cave-in, or the slow death of a miner's lung disease. However, opportunities for the capital jobs are few, and sometimes just getting there can be life-threatening. Other young people dream of sweet romance and a lifetime of marriage.

Sonia has no hope for either of these dreams. Ever since her birth, she has carried the weight of the entire town's worries on her shoulders. Those with concerns come to her for her special prayers, and everyone believes they are heard and answered...even Sonia. This is her destiny, her life. She spends her days praying, and has no time for careers or romance.

Then comes the horrific day when one of Sonia's prayers isn't answered, and a local boy ends up dead. Sonia realizes that she has no special powers, that her prayers aren't any more powerful than anyone else's. To save her family the shame of the awful truth, Sonia decides she must leave. With the help of her aunt, she manages to snag one of the jobs at the capital: housekeeping in the home of a rich woman. For the first time, Sonia is not known as a spiritual link to God, and is free to start dreaming. However, she's not quite sure just what to dream about.

In the meantime, Sonia is earning money to send home, and even the maid's quarters in which she sleeps is fancier than any home in Tres Montes. Of course, life in the big city isn't all glamour and freedom. Her supervisor is a bitter old woman intent on finding her faults, and her employer's nephew is a spoiled playboy determined to steal her virtues. And then Sonia learns of her brother's disappearance.

Sonia and her brother, Rafael, have always been close. Just before she departs the village, Rafael confides that he, too, plans on leaving town. Unfortunately, he tries to do so in a shady, dangerous way, trusting the wrong people. He ends up missing and in terrible danger. Sonia turns to the only person she can for help: her dear friend, Pancho, the poor orphan who dreams of becoming a poet and storyteller, and also secretly dreams of Sonia. Together, they delve into danger in hopes of saving Rafael. Unfortunately, it may be too late.

Meg Medina writes with a delightfully descriptive flair, painting beautifully colorful pictures ("Hawks hung outside her window, and far below there were waterfalls cascading into rushing rivers, where rainbows rose in the mist, like bridges to some other world."). Medina also does an interesting job of examining cultural and class differences, and her characters are distinctive and creative. Sonia is an endearing protagonist with whom many readers may identify. She feels trapped between family, obligations and her own dreams, even though she isn't quite sure what her dreams are yet. THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND is a charming story of hope, courage, dreams and identity.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quiet novel with strong setting, March 20, 2012
This review is from: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Hardcover)
The people of Tres Montes in THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND by Meg Medina are superstitious. They believe that a young girl of sixteen, Sonia Ocampo, has the power to heal and to protect. But Sonia knows that she is nothing special and that she has been living a lie her entire life. When given the opportunity, Sonia travels to the capital to work at Casa Mason as a housekeeper and to relieve herself of her town's burdens.

Setting plays a huge role in THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND. Tres Montes is a sleepy mining mountain town that all the young adults want to escape. Tres Montes is isolated from the outside world; only one train enters and leaves the station each week. I thought that it was great that, as a reader, I could not pinpoint the exact location of Tres Montes. I knew that the people spoke Spanish, and the geographical features give some clues, but it is not a place that I recognize. It gives me the impression that Tres Montes can be any sleepy mining town, but at the same the not knowing also bothered me.

THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND by Meg Medina is a really quiet book, and for books like this, either the writing has to stand out or the characters have to be refreshing. While I enjoyed THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND, the characters - especially Sonia - and the writing fail to leave a lasting impression in my mind. I wish we got to learn more about Dalia, Eva, and even Senora Mason.

However, I did sympathize with the characters who were looking to live a better life. It was inspiring to hear the lengths that some of the citizens of Tres Montes would take just to get a job at the capital. For example, Ramona traveled to Casa Mason for months at a time to earn money to help raise her children - even if it means leaving them behind in Tres Montes. For those who can't get a work permit, the journey through the mountains is a perilous one, yet young adults are willing to risk their lives in order to get to the capital. For me, this perilous journey is reminiscent of the the trip that it would take for an immigrant to cross the Mexican border. I don't know if it was the author's intent, but I saw THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND as a reflection for the immigrants who risk their lives in hopes for a better future.

I feel like the ending wasn't completely resolved. I would have liked to know what happened to the girls back at the capital in Casa Mason. As a reader, we are neglected to be informed about some of the consequences of Sonia's choices toward the end of the book. However, the closing scene of THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND is a hopeful one that leaves a beautiful and lasting image in readers' minds.

I would recommend THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND by Meg Medina to readers who don't mind a quiet novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm and beautiful story, September 30, 2012
This review is from: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Hardcover)
I just went to purchase this book as a gift for a friend, having read it myself and loved it. Noticed that it had only been rated 3 stars and wanted to add my love of this book to the comments... I am a voracious reader, and a writer, and this book (along with Benjamin Alire Saenz's Artistotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe) is my favorite thing I have read in ages... it has so much heart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Plot holes and bland characters, March 13, 2012
This review is from: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Hardcover)
I was really excited to read The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind. The cover is gorgeous, and it sounded like something a little different from the contemporary I usually read, but still close enough to real life to appeal to me. But sadly, it didn't work for me.

In the beginning, I still liked The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind. The atmosphere is really well-written, and I liked the descriptions of Sonia's life in Tres Montes. I felt like I was there with the family, even though my life is about as far away as you can get from Sonia's. I really enjoyed reading about what life is like in the small, poor town. But after that, things went downhill for me.

The writing stays good. It's vivid and beautiful, with great imagery. The writing is what kept me reading and what carries the book, in my opinion.

The rest, though, just didn't work for me. I liked Sonia when we're in Tres Montes with her, but once she leaves to go to the capital, I lost any kind of connection I had with her. In Tres Montes, she has a personality - the way she's smothered by people wanting her to help them with her powers makes her a sympathetic character. Once she gets to the capital, though, and the focus shifts from her special ability, I found her very bland. I get that that's kind of the point - she likes not being treated any different from the rest of the girls, but still. Sonia has no real personality, so I was kind of bored with her.

The secondary characters are... well, they're pretty bland, too. We're told a little bit about them, but I never saw that reflected in their actions. There are no patterns in their behavior, nothing that gives them any kind of personality. Sometimes, I even had trouble remembering who's who, since they're all so similar. That counts for the girls Sonia works with in the city as well as the people back in Tres Montes. I didn't even like the romance between Sonia and Pancho - their strong feelings develop way too suddenly to be realistic.

The plot didn't really work for me, either. I liked all the ideas of what happens, but I found the execution lacking. There are a lot of plot holes. I don't want to get into all of them in order not to spoil it for anyone, but there are several times in the story where I found myself wondering whether I'd missed something because it just didn't make sense. One example I can give without spoiling anything is how Sonia reacts when she reads in a letter from her parents that her brother is missing. Her brother Rafael told her before she left that he was planning on running away and finding work up north, so his disappearance shouldn't surprise Sonia. When she gets the letter, though, she's devastated and terrified something happened to Rafael. Her worrying starts one of the main storylines, but it just doesn't make sense. And there are a lot of plot holes like that.

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind has beautiful, atmospheric writing, so if you're in it just for the writing, I do recommend it. But the plot holes and bland characters made it hard for me to get into the story, so I didn't particularly enjoy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Using The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind in the Classroom, March 20, 2014
I had no trouble getting into Medina’s novel. I finished it quickly in one sitting, but I found myself disappointed when I reached the end, not because I didn’t like it, but because I was sad to see it end. I enjoyed the characters she’d created and wanted more.
While it’s set in the imaginary Latin American village of Tres Montes, the story connects to many important contemporary issues, most notably immigration. Opportunity is all but gone in the small village of Tres Montes. For the men, employment is all but limited to working in the mines. Young boys watch their fathers work their lives away in the mines, only to watch them grow old and increasingly weak from the toll the mining work has taken on their bodies. Sonia travels to the capital as a hired employee for the wealthy Masón family, but her brother Rafael risks paying someone, much like a coyote, to get him north. An easy target, Rafael falls prey to the many dangers that continue to claim so many immigrants trying to make it to the United States for a better life. Kidnapped and ransomed, Rafael ultimately dies. Medina’s novel could easily be paired with the documentary Which Way Home that follows several unaccompanied child immigrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call “The Beast.”

While quite different from The Queen of Water, the two novels share some common themes and would complement each other well. Both address issues of classism and racism through looking at the ways in which urban society is considered progressive and refined, while rural society is viewed as backwards and uneducated. Gender also plays an important role in the novel, as the reader sees the multiple ways in which the women of the story find themselves at the mercy of men with power. Perhaps it is because I was a teacher, but I found Pancho’s character to be one of the more powerful aspects of the book. As a bright boy with an incredible imagination, Pancho weaves beautiful stories, but few see him as anything but a poor orphan. If he’s noticed at all, it’s typically with scorn or annoyance. Yet, as a child with little power or protection, Pancho represents the vulnerability of so many children in our society. For me, his story was a quiet reprimand or reminder that we could all be doing more to protect those who represent that same vulnerability.

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind is beautifully written, with hints of magical realism and endearing characters. It’s not necessarily a happy ending, but it is one of hope. A hope most clearly stated in one of my favorite lines of the book: “. . .they confessed they had always had a soft spot for old mountain stories like his, for tales of humble people and the courage that it took to live their days. For true stories of magic and love.”

It’s a book I’d highly recommend both for the experience of reading it in and of itself, and also for the powerful discussions it could bring into the classroom. The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind has received a number of awards and recognitions as a CBI Recommended Reads (UK), Mock 2012 Pura Belpré honor book, REFORMA, Heartland Chapter, Best Books 2013 Bank Street College. Our free Educator’s Guide for using The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind is available here: [...]
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3.0 out of 5 stars A both magical and realistic tale, December 16, 2013
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This review is from: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Hardcover)
This is charming story with just the right balance of romance, adventure, magic, and tragic realism. I fell pretty quickly for Sonia Ocampo and the little village of Tres Montes, particularly with Medina's distinctive characterizations and how she presents this provincial town as a place beloved by its young residents, like Sonia and her brother Rafael--yet one they are still desperate to leave. This pull/push reflects Sonia's love of her family, but also her resistance against their belief in her "magical" ability to protect others from hardship. Her experiences in La Capital have just enough intrigue and danger to keep the story rolling, and Medina ably raises the stakes throughout the book. However, I did find a few instances of plot escapes that, while they might work for younger YA readers, will strike older readers as a touch too convenient. Overall, though, I was so enchanted by Medina's prose and her characters that I was willing to overlook these soft spots and enjoy this story "old mountain story" of courage and love.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, and not just for children., November 9, 2013
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This review is from: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Hardcover)
Met the author more than once. Liked Milagros, The Girl from Away. Purchased two copies of that one directly from her (one to read and one to lend). The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind was right up there with Milogras. Highly recomend both ---- and this is coming from an adult reader!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story, May 10, 2012
This review is from: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Hardcover)
Review originally published on my blog: [...]
ARC provided by publisher for review.

This is one of those stories that can't be nailed down to a single time, or even a single place. It's got a trace of wildness, and a simple beauty. Just a hint of magic, and a heaping scoop of spunk; years of secrets, and a thousand dreams.

Sonia Ocampo has been cursed with a blessing. The day she was born, the raging winds of a horrible storm ended, and from that point on, everyone believed she was blessed with a special connection to Heaven. The villagers of Tres Montes would come, bearing milagros (prayer charms), begging for her intercession on their behalf. For sixteen years, things seemed to "work," but then something goes horribly wrong. Desperate for an escape, Sonia leaves for the Capitol - to work in a rich widow's house, with three other Tres Montes girls, hoping to lose her blessing along the way. Even in the beautiful Capitol, life is not easy for Sonia, nor is she safe from the burden of her "gift." Her brother, Rafael, is also trying to make things better - but his plans and dreams go horribly awry. At last, Sonia realizes she must face the truth. All of it. And only by bringing the truth out into the open can her family, and the community of Tres Montes, find the healing and new beginnings they so desperately need.

This story has some very poignant, even sad, moments. But it also has a rare beauty. Sonia and her friend Pancho have a truly beautiful relationship, and I loved watching them grow. It's sweet, it's pure, it's real. There's a multicultural flavor to The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind, but not so much that it becomes part of a separate people (if that makes sense). As I said, there is no time or place - this could be any number of small towns with a quiet routine and slow, almost forgotten, economy. (Obviously it's historical fiction, but there's no set time period - that I could tell, anyway). While the story concluded beautifully, I can't help but wish there were more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A deeply cultural and detailed story..., April 4, 2012
This review is from: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Hardcover)
Steeped in culture and rich with detail, Meg Medina's debut YA novel, The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind, was a surprisingly gripping read. Normally, I'm a girl with paranormal needs but Meg's a Richmond author, and I'm all about supporting the local literary community, so I was set on reading this from the moment I learned about it even though it was outside my comfort zone. The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind definitely left a lasting impression.

Sonia Ocampo, who has defined her life by the beliefs of others since she was a child, has just realized that life is a lie.

All her life, she's been carrying the hopes and prayers of the people of Tres Montes. She has pinned their milagros to her shawl for years, shouldering them in silence until they weigh as much as a suit of armor. But when tragedy strikes and Sonia has the chance to leave her life and her reputation as the girl of miracles behind, she goes to the capital to work, learn about the world outside her home, and find out who she is once she's free of the milagros weight.

The characters and overall plot of The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind were a bit lukewarm for me. I wasn't able to latch onto any one of them or get to know them enough to become emotionally involved which left me feeling a bit detached. Themes of immigration struggles and personal and generational discovery were what kept me pushing toward the conclusion.

What stood out most about this novel was the lengths people go to and the dangers they're willing to face in hopes of securing a better life for themselves. I sympathized with the plight of the people of Tres Montes who were either forced into a meager life of mining or risk their lives for work elsewhere if they were unable to get one of the limited number of legal work permits available. The work you do and how you go about procuring it can be the difference between a better life and death.

I quickly became enamoured with Pancho, Sonia's secret crush who has the soul of a poet. He and Sonia share a sweet relationship with just an air of romance, but their relationship isn't my favorite. That goes to Mongo and Pancho.

The two of them share such a unique relationship with almost a big brother, little brother dynamic. Pancho knows Mongo, despite his appearance and hardened exterior, was an orphan and may be the only person in Tres Montes who understands him. Mongo also protects Pancho and appreciates his talent for storytelling while others in their town think of Pancho as a dreamer. From their first interaction, I was hooked.

When Sonia's brother Rafael disappears the pace of the novel really picks up, and the story becomes more active and engaging. Tensions rose and emotions became high. Sonia also begins to realize that you can never truly leave your past behind. However, it is also the point in the story where things started to feel unfinished. Sonia leaves the capital to return home and the sudden departure, while understandable, leaves things feeling unresolved.

While not an explosive book, The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind is most certainly an important one. Larger themes like immigration might make it appear a bit daunting at first, but don't let that deter you. Medina does an excellent job making the Latino culture and tradition and the social issues faced by the people of Tres Montes accessible and understandable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Story (3.5), March 26, 2012
This review is from: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Hardcover)
Sonia was born the night a terrible storm hit Tres Montes. Sonia's village should've been in ruins but it was fine and everyone was safe. The people of Tres Montes believed they had Sonia to thank for this miracle. Now 16 Sonia struggles to live up to the expectations of towns people and quietly carry all the burdens. that they bestow upon her.

Tres Montes is a small poor village most of the men of are miners including Sonia's father. Many of the young people are leaving to find jobs in the capital. Sonia 's older brother Rafael is desperate to get a good job in the capital but he's still Sonia when she gets her chance to leave.

The people of Tres Montes put all of their faith in Sonia and she never thought they would let her go. So she's very grateful to leave and for the new experiences in the capital. Everything is going well until, Rafeal goes missing. Sonia is determined to find her brother no matter the consequences.

I really enjoyed this story. Part of the beauty of Medina's writing comes from not trying to make things happen but rather letting them unfold. I couldn't help but be moved by the author's light touch. Medina does a wonderful job making Tres Montes come to life. Sonia carries the story with ease and the author surrounds her with a lot of great secondary characters.
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The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind
The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina (Hardcover - March 13, 2012)
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