- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Children's LiteratureLike many who come to America for freedom the Berati family keeps a low profile so as not to jeopardize their status. Linda, an eighth grader in Brooklyn, has been warned many times by her mother not to speak of the past. The young teenager has many questions that go unanswered by her evasive mother—why did her mother flee Albania and how did she get the angry scar that runs down the side of her face. Linda is haunted by reoccurring nightmares in which she feels she is suffocating and drowning and is rebuffed by her mother when she tries to decipher their meaning. At the beginning of the new school year, Linda finds herself at odds with her old friends whose new interests seem to be clothes and boys. She soon becomes friends with Ramon, a young Cuban immigrant and together the two share a hideout under the Verrazano Bridge. When Linda discovers a stranger living there, she at first befriends the hapless young man. Later she suspects he is an illegal alien and a friend of Ramon's brother Miguel and that the two are dealing drugs. A class assignment on family history is the impetus Linda needs to confront her mother about her past, stand up to Miguel and the gang who is after him, and face the truth about her own journey to America. Meade writes convincingly and empathetically about those who will sacrifice all for a chance to live the American dream. Her characters are fully realized and the dialog realistic. The several subplots are neatly woven together into a cohesive whole. Mom's turnabout seems abrupt but Meade is such a capable storyteller it is a barely discernable flaw. 2005, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Ages 12 to 14.