An adopted teen hears voices on the wind that beckon her to an abandoned grove in a nearby park where she learns unimaginable secrets about her origins.
Leila, a brown-skinned high schooler with thick, curly hair and seasonal affective disorder, has an unusual connection to nature. She doesn’t know who her birth parents are or where they were from, but after years in a group home and foster homes around Philadelphia, she has found a permanent family with Jon, whose race is not mentioned, and Lisabeth, who is cued as black. Leila struggles to open herself up to her new parents. Sarika, a South Asian–American girl she befriended in the group home, is the only one who knows that Leila hears voices, which she fights to suppress. Through her passion for the environment, Leila meets a cute park ranger who helps her find the grove of trees that becomes the most important environmental cause she’s ever had to fight for. Readers will feel for Leila; her emotions around her family history are raw and real. The secondary characters are less convincing, and the fantastical aspect of Leila’s connection to nature may leave some readers confused about seasonal affective disorder.
An unusual work of magical realism. (Fiction. 12-16)