SEE NO EVIL by Jamila Gavin


Age Range: 11 - 13
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The author of Coram Boy (2001) again tells several affecting tales at once—but here they’re all weighed down by a baroque literary artifice and a gooey, simplistic ending. Cocooned in total luxury thanks to her genial, fabulously wealthy father, 12-year-old Antonietta is impelled to take her first hesitant steps toward independence by the sudden disappearance of her beloved tutor Miss Kovachev and the appearance of Benny, a guard’s son, who flits about playing minor pranks when he’s not hacking the household computer systems. Miss Kovachev leaves behind a journal which, though written in Bulgarian, evidently begins translating itself in Nettie’s dreams to present a harrowing account of a clandestine trade in Eastern European girls smuggled into England as short-lived sweatshop labor. It’s all true, as Nettie discovers later on, and—gasp—her father is involved. When the police finally arrive her father makes a clean escape, her trophy mom retires to another estate and Nettie, joyously reunited with Miss Kovachev, goes off to try for a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School. It’s a muddle, with good parts but no center. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 4th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-374-36333-8
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2009


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