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by Alice Mead

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: March 15th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-38047-3
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A class project is the catalyst for 13-year-old Linda Berati to learn about her illegal immigrant family’s soul-crushing past in Albania, their difficult and dangerous journey to America, and how her mother got the long facial scar she has always refused to discuss. Recently, Linda has been moody, difficult, mean to her little sister, and furious at her impossible-to-please mother. Nothing seems to fit her correctly, not the less-than-challenging academic program at her dull school, her clunky new clothing, nor her once comfortable friendships with Donna and Crissy. As Linda seeks to learn the secret of her mother’s and thus her own history, she gets involved in another more familiar immigrant story. Her impoverished friend Ramón has an older brother who is not only selling drugs, but also cheating another dealer, a situation that puts his hard-working family in serious jeopardy. Readers will be rooting for this plucky heroine as she struggles along to the “ultimate destiny of power and stubbornness—adulthood.” (Fiction. 10-13)