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Lucy lives a suffocating life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in Yohalem's debut, which was inspired by true events. With her mother working constantly as a U.S. ambassador and her life in Bethesda, Md., far away, Lucy is lonely and confined to the house because of her somewhat reckless nature. Most of her time is spent at school or with the house servant, an elderly Ethiopian man named Iskinder, who tells her stories of the country's history, traditions and power struggles. More than anything, Lucy wants to explore, free to discover the animals of the African forest and the Simien Mountains ("Africa is the only place I've ever been where human beings feel like just one small part of a vast and complicated earth"). When Lucy is kidnapped and held for ransom, she is finally given the chance to use her strength and wildlife knowledge to survive. Lucy's past and present are gracefully woven together, through well-integrated flashbacks, into a powerful picture of the life of a foreigner in Ethiopia. The story should appeal to all with a sense of adventure. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.