OUR SECRET, SIRI AANG by Brad Kessler

OUR SECRET, SIRI AANG

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

One morning in Kenya, a 12-year-old Maasai girl named Namelok and a black rhino mother make a silent agreement—that the rhino’s brand-new baby will be named Siri Aang (Our Secret) and that Namelok will always protect her from poachers. Namelok’s other secret is that she’s just started her period. For a Maasai girl, menstruation triggers the emuratare initiation into womanhood (female circumcision, not made explicit except as surgery without anesthesia), and being married off to the man of her father’s choice. Her third secret is that she wants to break Maasai tradition and go to school. Details about Maasai life tumble forth so rapidly and abundantly, they threaten to overtake the story, but readers will be nonetheless fascinated by the traditions of a nomadic tribe that raises cattle, hunts lions, and protects all other wild animals—as well as the tribe’s struggle to adapt to a changing world. In her fierce loyalty to the rhinos, Namelok risks close family relationships and her own life in this often belabored but still powerful coming-of-age story. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-399-23985-5
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2004