THE YEAR THE GYPSIES CAME by Linzi Glass
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THE YEAR THE GYPSIES CAME

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A spring visit from a vagabond family ends in disaster for two white girls and their family in apartheid South Africa in 1966. Twelve-year-old tomboy Emily lives in Johannesburg with her older sister Sarah and their self-absorbed, sparring parents. Emily compares her family to Johannesburg—an illusion held together with dust. Ignored by her selfish mother and detached father, Emily turns to the old Zulu night watchman Buza, who comforts her with his stories of courage and strength. Out of nowhere, the rootless Mallorys arrive in their bedraggled camping trailer, bringing danger and discontent. Emily and Sarah are soon distracted with ragamuffin Streak and retarded Otis Mallory. But Emily feels “cracked . . . in too many pieces” when she discovers her mother is having an affair and suspects Mr. Mallory is abusing Otis. Tragically, Emily’s world is torn apart, but Buza helps provide the glue that holds her together. Subtle parallels between Emily’s family and apartheid South Africa provide great depth and meaning to this somber, sensitive, exquisitely narrated story for mature readers. (glossary of Afrikaans and Zulu words and expressions) (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8050-7999-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2006




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