A young Tamil teen flees into the forest near her home in Satham, Sri Lanka, in this entry in UNICEF's Through My Eyes series, which explores through fiction the lives of young people in flash points around the world.
Amid the terror of being forcibly led through town by Tamil Tiger soldiers who intend to use them as human shields in the resistance war they are waging against the Sinhalese majority, Hindu Malini and her spoiled younger sister, Banni, are suddenly urged by their beloved father to run on their own for the cover of the trees. Their experience over the next several weeks is filled with peril and self-discovery. An unexpected camaraderie develops between them and three other escaped children, Nanda, Amal, and Gayan, all Sinhalese Buddhists, whom they meet along the way. Set during the wave of sectarian violence that flared after a U.N.–supported cease-fire effort failed in 2009, this tale of survival will pull readers in. Pop-culture references to Miley Cyrus and Bart Simpson are juxtaposed effectively, if sometimes a little obviously, against a reality that will be unimaginable to most Western young people and also blend with elucidating descriptions of Sri Lankan cultural details.
A well-plotted, harrowing journey and an engaging, worthwhile read. (author's note, glossary, historical timeline, map) (Historical fiction. 12-18)