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Children's LiteratureRenata is a talented Brazilian teen who moved to America with her loving mother, a cleaning lady who works hard to make ends meet. Although Renata is proud of her heritage and her mother, she finds it hard to deal with Karin, an obnoxious schoolmate who tries to bully and demean Renata, especially when Karin is given the role of Renata's understudy in the school play. Readers will see Renata's character develop as she gains the courage to stand up for herself and her mother, overcoming Karin's stereotypes about class and race, and her hateful attitude. This book is appropriate for teens dealing with issues of being ostracized, but many readers will find it to be a great story with important life lessons that most can relate to on some level. Renata's experiences are inspiring, her attitude and actions are positive. They should be admired and striven for. 2005, Orca Book Publishers, Ages 12 to 16.
—Cherie Ilg Haas