BROKEN MOON by Kim Antieau


Age Range: 12 - 14
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Six years after she was scarred in a brutal attack—sanctioned by the elders of her Pakistani village as punishment in an interfamily dispute—Nadira, 18, labors as a domestic servant in Karachi, supporting her widowed mother and little brother, Umar. (The cover photo of a demure, beautifully groomed teen seems to belong to a different story.) When Umar is kidnapped, sold as a child jockey to race camels for wealthy sheikhs, Nadira vows to rescue him and, disguised as a boy, becomes a jockey herself. Slow to start, the story takes off when the action shifts to the jockey training camps but is hampered by its awkward epistolary format, which distances readers from the action and drains the narrative of suspense. Nadira is the most fleshed-out character, yet much about her remains a mystery: What is her religion? Why is the Persian A Thousand and One Nights her primary cultural referent? In a story billed as fact-based, important details are omitted: How does the trafficking system work? Who owns the jockeys? Are the camps and race tracks in or outside Pakistan? No glossary or extra-narrative explanation is provided. And although the subject matter is geared to young adults, the elementary vocabulary and simple syntax appear designed for younger readers. A well-intentioned but flawed execution of a fascinating story. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 1-4169-1767-5
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2007