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The Land of Forgotten Girls Hardcover – March 1, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Soledad and Ming, two sisters from the Philippines, live in Louisiana with their evil stepmother, Vea. All Sol and Ming have is each other and their stories. Both girls inherited a lively imagination from their mother, Mei-Mei. When she was alive, Mei-Mei wove enthralling tales about her magical sister, Jove, who traveled around the world. The girls cling to tales of Auntie Jove as a hope of escape while living in a dreary apartment with miserable Vea. Sol worries for her younger sister as Ming begins to believe Auntie Jove is a reality, blurring the lines between fact and fiction. Can Sol save her sister from the depression caused by her own stories, or have they done irreparable damage? Is there a way for Sol, Ming, and Vea to understand one another and be happy in their own reality? Readers will become engrossed in the enchanting plot propelled by delightful narration. This book will appeal to a broad array of readers, as it has a little bit of everything—fantasy, realism, sisterhood, friendship, suspense, and humor. VERDICT A charming and affecting novel about sisterhood, the magic of imagination, and perseverance.—Tiffany Davis, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY
“[An] enchanting plot propelled by delightful narration. This book will appeal to a broad array of readers, as it has a little bit of everything-fantasy, realism, sisterhood, friendship, suspense, and humor. A charming and affecting novel about sisterhood, the magic of imagination, and perseverance.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Kelly’s sophomore novel is both hopeful and heartfelt, but strong emotions are only part of the successful equation here. Told in Sol’s true voice, the direct dialogue brings the diverse characters to vivid life.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Kelly deftly captures the tumultuous emotions of a preteen who is forced to grow up faster than other girls her age.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Sisterhood, friendship, truth, hope: these are the themes that lift The Land of Forgotten Girls… into the realm of the truly special. …Readers who feel marginalized or alone in their troubles-and who doesn’t at times?-will adore Sol and her ragtag family, both chosen and real.’” (Shelf Awareness)
“Kelly balances the bleak and the beautiful in a novel about the multilayered bond between sisters…Kelly’s strong heroine offers hope in the face of loss.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This stirring and original story ends on a credibly hopeful note while remaining firmly rooted in reality, and readers who have embraced Sol will be cautiously optimistic for her future. …Sol’s central struggles are gripping. Fans of Rita Williams-Garcia’s family…may particularly enjoy spending time with Sol.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“This story addresses the importance of family, especially sisterhood, diversity in friendships, the gift of forgiveness, perseverance through difficult circumstances, and the need for hope.…Erin Entrada Kelly is a formidable middle grade author.” (Litstack)
Praise for Blackbird Fly: “Each character in Kelly’s debut novel . . . is portrayed with remarkable authenticity. The awkwardness and intense feelings inherent to middle school are palpable. Children’s literature has been waiting for Apple Yengko—a strong, Asian-American girl whose ethnic identity simultaneously complicates and enriches her life.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Will resonate with any student in middle school who has felt different and ostracized. The author has skillfully captured the various characters that populate Apple’s . . . school.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“[A] delightful debut . . . Through her love of music . . . Apple starts to soar like the eponymous blackbird of her favorite Beatles song.” (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
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What a meaningful, poignant and timely book. This is a great cultural narrative that would pair with so many great pieces of historical fictions about the immigrant narrative. It would create some powerful comparisons to the past and present immigrant experience and the value of friendships in bridging the divide that exists in the heart.
What gorgeous voices.
“She isn’t rich. She’s clever. That means she knows how to use her imagination. When you can do that, you can do anything.”
This is something Soledad’s mother would always say. She was a weaver of words. A magnificent storyteller. A fairy godmother that would gladly whisk you away from the danger of reality.
And, when she died. Soledad doesn’t know how to escape the peril of drowning into her own trance.
Soledad and Dominga.
Sol and Ming for short. They are two sisters who was born in the Philippines. Though, soon after their mother died, they migrated to Louisiana, USA.
Together with their evil stepmother and their father who suddenly abandoned them.
They need an escape more than ever.
“She has to believe in something. Everyone has to believe in something.”
For Ming’s sake, Sol started slowly unpacking all the tales their mother left her... Auntie Jove, their adventurous aunt, who’s going to rescue them some day. Ming was so immerse into the fantasy, Sol is worried, she gave her “too much” to believe in.
The Land of Forgotten Girls filled my heart with so much love, I’m afraid it would burst.
I am not a regular Middle Grade reader, but if all of them have the same timbre of storytelling as Kelly’s, I’ll gladly read them frequently.
I have always been on a lookout for stories that features tight knit, complicated family. Bonus, if it’s about sisterhood. So, to my delight when this book magically appears out of nowhere. I felt like I won a lottery, but even better because it’s about two Filipino American sisters.
As Ming would say “Everyone needs sisters!” I have to agree with that. Always.
The narration of the story would occasionally go back and forth in the Philippines to tell a flashback scene. In addition, Kelly effortlessly intertwines the Filipino culture in the plot. Our rich tradition, tales, and more. I could not help but to chuckle as I read some very familiar words. It’s extremely refreshing to finally see a little bit of myself in things that I highly treasure.
Aside from that, The Land of Forgotten Girls also has a diverse cast. Ming and Sol are both Filipino American who grew up in the Philippines. Sol’s best friend, Manny is a Mexican and their neighbors are Chinese as well.
This book got so many things right. Per instance colorism, racism and more.
Can you imagine a bunch of twelve year old kids discussing racial problems? Yes, I certainly can. Because when you grew up as a minority in America, the people around you will force you to grow up. You’ll be considered a threat, sometimes less than a human being.
To sum it up, The Land of Forgotten Girls should be a required reading material for all ages. This book teaches us that family is everything, that children of color have plenty of tales to tell.
Review also posted at Hollywood News Source.