A magical story about a girl who awakens to her potential when her vagabond mother abandons her at her grandmother’s home in Laredo, Texas.
Kept in the dark her entire life, 16-year-old Martha discovers that everything she thinks she knows about herself is a lie. Evicted time and again while on the road with her mother, her life was nomadic and impoverished. Thrown into her grandmother’s Spanish-speaking world, she discovers that her last name is Gonzalez rather than George and that she has a large family. As Martha endeavors to learn the language of her long-lost family, she discovers that her grandmother is a curandera with healing powers. Engaging in practices that are a fusion of Indigenous beliefs and Catholicism, Martha finds her confidence. But as she becomes determined to uncover her mother’s secrets, she is thwarted by the way her family is reluctant to talk about the past. When she develops a mortal enemy at school, she must decide whether to back away or fully immerse herself in her grandmother’s curandera teachings. Debut novelist Temblador has created an unforgettable character in Martha, a girl whose gifts are greater than she could have imagined, in part because they belong to a world she never could have imagined. The novel introduces young readers to a Mexican community that maintains its roots in its Indigenous bloodlines.
A suspenseful and fascinating glimpse into a Mexican-American world. (Fiction. 13-18)