From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—In 1958, eight-year-old Lowenstein and her family went to live in Burma, encountering a culture both alien and alluring. This book weaves her memories, family letters, and black-and-white photographs into an intriguing mix of memoir, science-fiction dystopia, and love story set in 2047. In the overpopulated Greater East Coast Metropolis, people regularly disappear into Quarantine, never to be seen again. After her parents are taken, 16-year-old Zeyya moves in with an elderly grandmother, who also takes in Jonah, a homeless, possibly mentally ill, certainly alien, stranger. Over time, Zeyya falls in love with the man who claims that his blue tattoos allow him to access the memories of his ancestors. She also becomes increasingly absorbed by her grandmother's memories of her childhood in 1950s Burma. The perspective of expatriate Americans in Burma's brief democracy is presented in documents that serve as chapter dividers (as do Granna's memories) and makes a splendid warp for the weft of the story line. Readers familiar with Lois Lowry's The Giver
(Houghton, 1993) will recognize some elements, especially the end, but this is an original, unusual tale that may interest adults with expatriate experience as well as teens looking for a quiet love story.—Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD
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