The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind

4.6 5
by Meg Medina
     
 

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Sonia’s entire village believes she has a gift, but it’s only in leaving home that she finds out who she truly is. A compelling tale from a rich new voice in young adult fiction.

Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampo was born on the night of the worst storm Tres Montes had ever seen. And when the winds mercifully stopped, an unshakable belief in the

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Overview

Sonia’s entire village believes she has a gift, but it’s only in leaving home that she finds out who she truly is. A compelling tale from a rich new voice in young adult fiction.

Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampo was born on the night of the worst storm Tres Montes had ever seen. And when the winds mercifully stopped, an unshakable belief in the girl’s protective powers began. All her life, Sonia has been asked to pray for sick mothers or missing sons, as worried parents and friends press silver milagros in her hands. Sonia knows she has no special powers, but how can she disappoint those who look to her for solace? Still, her conscience is heavy, so when she gets a chance to travel to the city and work in the home of a wealthy woman, she seizes it. At first, Sonia feels freedom in being treated like all the other girls. But when news arrives that her beloved brother has disappeared while looking for work, she learns to her sorrow that she can never truly leave the past or her family behind. With deeply realized characters, a keen sense of place, a hint of magical realism, and a flush of young romance, Meg Medina tells the tale of a strongwilled, warmhearted girl who dares to face life’s harsh truths as she finds her real power.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
With a hint of magical realism and a Latin influence, THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND tells the story of 16-year-old Sonia Ocampo with an enchanting narrative... Sonia's satisfying story of self-discovery combines friendship, family, love and adventure. A book for those fond of alluring storytelling.
—Shelf Awareness

Medina creates a compelling narrative within a Latin American culture where parents cling to old ways and their children thread their paths between hope and despair, trying to find a viable future. Though touches of magical realism appear in the novel, the real magic here arises from the story of a girl struggling to see beyond others’ perceptions and find her own way in a society that seems to offer few options.
—Booklist Online

Publishers Weekly
Hints of magical realism infuse Medina's story, set in an unnamed Latin American country. Teenage Sonia Ocampos lives with her family—including her handsome rakish brother, Rafael—in a tiny village where the residents struggle daily against poverty and natural forces. According to the villagers, Sonia is special, endowed from birth with the power to answer prayers. Sonia walks through life wrapped in a shawl that grows ever heavier with the metal milagros (prayer charms) bestowed upon it. The opportunity to serve as apprentice housemaid in a wealthy home in the capital brings new discoveries and obstacles, particularly in the form of the owner's lecherous nephew. When Sonia learns that Rafael has gone missing, presumably seeking a brighter future, she must look beyond her powers of prayer to rescue him. Touches of romantic longing between Sonia and a poetically talented orphan boy create an enticing undercurrent; secondary characters reveal unexpected aspects of their personalities as the suspense builds. Medina persuasively depicts the sights, rhythms, and relationships of both village life and the servants' world at Casa Masón, but her story is missing the spark that would make it truly engrossing. Ages 14–up (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Lisa Colozza Cocca
Everyone in the small mountain village of Tres Montes believes Sonia Ocampo was born blessed. Convinced Sonia has the ear of God, the villagers bring their problems to her. When at sixteen Sonia is offered an opportunity to work in the capitol, she embraces the chance to escape the pressure of being the village's savior. She becomes a servant in Casa Mason, the home of a wealthy widow. Her brother, Rafael, decides he too will go to the city, however, unlike Sonia, he ventures out without the protection of an agency. This is a dangerous choice and Rafael suffers the consequences. The events that unfold in the capitol reveal Sonia's character and lead her back to the village, her family, and Pancho, the boy she left behind. Medina flawlessly weaves mysticism and romance into this contemporary coming-of-age story. The pace of the plot reflects the shift from the sleepy village to the hectic big city. Readers will relate to the richly drawn characters and the challenges they face. Reviewer: Lisa Colozza Cocca
VOYA - Sharon Martin
When a storm stopped the night she was born, Sonia Ocampo was considered a miracle worker by her village, with a destiny to answer their prayers and keep them safe. But Sonia knows it is not true. Young men from the village run away to find more lucrative work than mining and sometimes do not return. Then the body of one of these young men is found, and Sonia's brother, Rafael, goes missing. Sonia herself had run away to the big city as a maid but realizes that she needs to tell the village the truth about herself and find her brother. She then enlists the help of her childhood friend. The story begins in a small village, in an unnamed Spanish-speaking country. There is no time period specified, but there are trains and cars; and there is a sharp contrast between the sparse village life and the grandeur of the house in the big city. Sonia is a very strong character, if a bit naive. Readers will believe in her and want her to succeed. She is able to enlist other people to help her and uplifts those around her. The theme of the story is typical—coming into your own personhood—but the setting and plot raise it above the ordinary. Sonia realizes that she can forge her destiny herself, as a real person rather than the figurehead crafted by the village. Reviewer: Sharon Martin
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Because she was born during a terrible storm where not a single person was harmed, 16-year-old Sonia Ocampo is labeled an angel in her small town of Tres Montes. The local people view her as their beacon of hope, offering her small milagros, miracle charms, so Sonia can pray for them in hard times. However, when a local boy is robbed and murdered, Sonia feels like a failure. She takes a job in a wealthy woman's home far away in the capital to escape her shame. The townspeople think her absence will cause turmoil for Tres Montes and her family, and, sure enough, Sonia's older brother is kidnapped. The teen must find a way to produce the ransom money and make the long and dangerous journey home to save her brother. Ultimately, Sonia tries to make the people of her village (and her family) realize she isn't the angel they believe her to be. Medina's writing is fluent and lovely, weaving Spanish words in with the English text to paint a heartwarming story of a girl's journey to find out who she is. However, at times the Spanish is not easily defined in context, and while the climax is fast-paced and moving, the resolution feels too quickly wrapped up. Overall, this is a respectable first YA novel from Medina and might make a good choice for libraries looking for books by Cuban American authors.—Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, Columbus, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Laden with the hopes and fears of her village, a 16-year-old girl casts aside her appointed calling to discover her true destiny. "The curse on Sonia Ocampo's life came without warning before she was even born, cleverly disguised as good luck." Sonia's birth marked the end of the colossal storm that had been ravaging the village of Tres Montes. From that day on, she carried the prayers of Tres Montes in the form of milagros, small, metal prayer charms, sewn into her shawl. When her prayers fail to save the life of young village boy, Sonia questions her supposed gifts. With the help of her spirited Tía Neli, she finds a job in the capital city as a wealthy woman's maid. She leaves behind her parents, her brother and her schoolgirl crush, Pancho Muñoz, and joins three other village girls in service at Casa Masón. Soon word of her brother's disappearance reaches her, and Sonia must decide how much she is willing to risk to save the ones she loves. Medina breathes life into Sonia and many of the secondary characters, and the vivid descriptions and touches of magical realism will enthrall readers. However, teens may find themselves with more questions than answers as the novel builds towards a hasty resolution and a tidy epilogue. A worthy effort weakened by a rushed conclusion. (Magical realism. 14-18)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763664190
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
09/24/2013
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,111,999
Product dimensions:
5.49(w) x 8.32(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
With a hint of magical realism and a Latin influence, THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND tells the story of 16-year-old Sonia Ocampo with an enchanting narrative... Sonia's satisfying story of self-discovery combines friendship, family, love and adventure. A book for those fond of alluring storytelling.
—Shelf Awareness

Medina creates a compelling narrative within a Latin American culture where parents cling to old ways and their children thread their paths between hope and despair, trying to find a viable future. Though touches of magical realism appear in the novel, the real magic here arises from the story of a girl struggling to see beyond others’ perceptions and find her own way in a society that seems to offer few options.
—Booklist Online

Meet the Author

Meg Medina is the author of Tía Isa Wants a Car, illustrated by Claudio Muñoz. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she grew up in Queens, New York, and now lives in Richmond, Virginia.

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