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Ann Cameron
Children's Fiction CAMERON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Achieving an almost hypnotic intensity, this taut novel invites readers to sample both savory and bitter flavors of Guatemalan culture as Cameron (The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods) creates a melting pot of mixed values, religions and races, where both the pure and not-so-pure of heart have faith in a spirit world. The narrator, a 12-year-old girl, navigates an uncertain, mysterious world; in bits and pieces, the author reveals that Tzunun (Mayan for "hummingbird," which is colibri in Spanish) was kidnapped at age four, while her family was visiting Guatemala City. In the intervening eight years, Tzunun has wandered from village to village with the man she knows only as "Uncle." Most of her early childhood has slipped from her memory, but she does remember that the "first job" her mother gave her was "to be honest." Cameron's understated prose eloquently expresses the complex, interdependent relationship between Tzunun and her kidnapper, who remain linked even though they feel little affection for each other. Tzunun does not leave Uncle because she is afraid of being alone, and Uncle keeps close watch over Tzunun because a fortuneteller predicted that she will lead him to treasure some day. Tension mounts as Tzunun is pressured to lie, cheat and eventually steal for Uncle. In the end, her strong morality is both a saving grace and a threat to her survival, freeing her from Uncle but putting her in danger of his vengeance. Tzunun's struggle to stay true to herself is moving and suspenseful. If the protagonist's final destiny feels somewhat contrived, her growth is convincing nonetheless. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Rosa Garcia
Age: 12
Rescued from abandonment by Baltasar at a young age; goes around with uncle Baltasar begging for money; hates to be dishonest to people even though she loves Baltasar.

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