Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Land of Forgotten Girls, by Erin Entrada Kelly

Ever since their Dad abandoned them in America and went back to the Philippines, Sol and little sister Ming live have been stuck living with their stepmother.  Vea, their stepmom, isn't very nice and the girls reciprocate by rebelling against her.  To comfort her sister, Sol makes up stories about magical queens and monsters, while herself seeking help from her dead sister Amelia and (more temporally) from her neighbor Mrs. Leung and the local junk man.

It's a story of sisterhood that combines mundane life in a sleepy Louisiana apartment complex with touches of magic.  I think it's a bit too slow and strange for the young readers it is targeted to (I pity the parent who tries to explain the story to an inquisitive listener), but it has its charms.  The cast of characters are diverse and interesting and I especially enjoyed the large role that silences play in the story (particularly, with Ming and with Mrs. Leung).  At the same time, Sol was a bit bratty and seemed to enjoy antagonizing her stepmother, so I enjoyed her less.

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