*Starred Review* In a desperately poor Andean village in Ecuador, 7-year-old Virginia is sold off by her ind�gena (Indian) parents as a servant to an academic, mestizo family. In her new home, the wife beats her, the husband gropes her, and she is insulted as a longa tonta (stupid Indian). Still, she teaches herself to read and write and begins to perform science experiments in secret. Then, when she is 12, she finally gets a chance to return to her parents: But does she want to? And do they want her? Virginia does travel back to her ind�gena family, but there is not the expected sweet reunion. Ashamed of her illiterate parents and bitter that they gave her away, Virginia is uncomfortable in the family�s mud-walled shack, where she cannot speak the language and hates the hard work. Could she go back to being enslaved in the mestizo family�s clean �prison�? Rooted in Farinango�s true story, the honest, first-person, present-tense narrative is occasionally detailed and repetitive, but it dramatizes the classic search for home with rare complexity and no sentimentality or easy resolutions. Virginia�s conflicts with her birth parents and her employers are heartbreaking, even as she finds a way to attend school and shape a more hopeful future. A moving, lyrical novel that will particularly resonate with teens caught between cultures. Grades 8-12. --Hazel Rochman
Starred Review, Booklist, February 15, 2011:
"A moving, lyrical novel that will particularly resonate with teens caught between cultures."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, May 9, 2011:
"The authors' candid narrative richly depicts Virginia's passage from a childhood filled with demoralization to a young woman who sees her life through new eyes."
Starred Review, School Library Journal, June 2011:
"This is a poignant coming-of-age novel that will expose readers to the exploitation of girls around the world whose families grow up in poverty."