UNDER THE BANYAN TREE by Toni De Palma

UNDER THE BANYAN TREE

Age Range: 12 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Six months after her mother runs away from home, Irena hitches a ride to Key West to start a new life. After some initial hardship, she lands a job as a chambermaid in a down-at-the-heels motel called the Banyan Tree. Hardworking and conscientious, she’s immediately accepted by Carlotta, the motel’s Earth-mother proprietor, and her cheerful brother Antonio. Also living with them is the persnickety and pregnant Lynette, a parsimonious young woman who is not delighted at Irena’s presence as it means another mouth to feed. In time, Irena comes to share Lynette’s financial concerns, as she can’t help but notice that the guests are few and far between. This is not a perfect story; some of the action is implausible, the secondary characters don’t ring true and the ending, though delightful and charming, is also implausible. Still, it’s a very likable piece with a sympathetic heroine, and the central theme—how kindness and tenderness can turn strangers into kin—is enormously appealing. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 15th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8234-1965-4
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2007