RED PALMS by Cara Haycak


Age Range: 14 & up
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Readers will be enchanted by the exotic, magical qualities of this coming-of-age story. When the Great Depression bankrupts Benita’s beloved father, the family moves from their home in Guayaquil, Equador, to the primitive island of Paíta to start a coconut farm. Benita has difficulty adjusting to the harsh conditions on the island and blames her father for her unhappiness. Soon Raúl, a native islander, takes notice of Benita and proposes marriage. He suggests getting to know one another by moving from the shore to the jungle. Benita agrees, if only to escape her father’s plantation, but after four months of living alone with Raúl, it becomes clear they don’t love each other and Benita feels trapped once again. Benita’s strong spirit emerges when Raúl is seriously injured. Venturing away from camp in search of help, she encounters a spirit in the form of an old crone who reveals Benita’s inner strength. This discovery gives Benita the courage to find her way out of the jungle towards a life of her own. Unique and beautifully written. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 2004
ISBN: 0-385-74648-2
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2004