When sixteen-year-old Gloria fails thirteen out of fifteen subjects on her final exams, her future looks bleak indeed. Her family's resources are meager so the entire family is thrilled when a distant relative, Christine, offers to move Gloria north to Kumasi to look after her toddler son. In exchange, after two years, Christine will pay for Gloria to go to school.
Life in Kumasi is more grand than anything Gloria has ever experienced. She joins a youth band at church, and Christine has even promised to teach her to read.
But Kumasi is also full of temptations -- the owner of a popular clothing shop encourages her to buy on credit, and the smooth-talking Dr. Kusi offers Gloria rides in his sports car. Eventually Gloria is betrayed by the people around her and is disillusioned by her new life. But in the end she decides who she can trust, and draws on her own considerable inner resources to put the bad experiences behind her.
...will give the young audience an insight into a life very different from their own. - Marya Kurwa, Bayviews
...an enlightening reading experience. - Ali Valderrama, Multicultural Review
...lays out a picture of a Ghanaian adolescence, circa 1994, that sweeps together coming-of-age quandaries and, for the reader, an education in the prevailing attitudes, social issues and culture (even cuisine) of that place and time. - Deirdre Baker, Toronto Star
Badoe's sharp and engaging prose unfolds the story with spryness, deftly navigating readers through heady social issues - Kirkus Reviews
Badoe deftly conveys details of life in contemporary urban Ghana ... her experiences will be readily identifiable to contemporary teens in a global society. - K C, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
...the betrayals, quarrels, misunderstandings, and secrets are universal, and so is the friendship, love, and kindness. - Hazel Rochman, Booklist
The story provides a fascinating glimpse into a culture... - Naphtali L. Faris, SLJ
This honest glimpse of one adolescent is as particular to the well-detailed West African setting as it is universal in subject and theme. - Betty Carter, The Horn Book
...delves into some difficult issues - including HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, poverty, and unpaid domestic work - in a way that will engage young adult readers... - Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children
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