In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Read more...
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In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city's most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill's personal study, she knows exactly who's behind it.
With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City's local gang. It's a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she's been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she's overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother--and why--keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.
- ISBN-13: 9780399547584
- ISBN-10: 0399547584
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: January 2017
- Page Count: 432
- Reading Level: Ages 13-17
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-11-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Tina has been living on the streets of (the fictional) Sangui City in Kenya since her mothers murder at the home of Roland Greyhill, her mothers employer and the father of Tinas half-sister, Kiki. Recruited by the Goondas, a gang of orphans and street kids, Tina is the only girl trained to become a foot soldier. As she learns skills to become an accomplished thief, she lives by a series of rules, including Rule 3: thieves dont have friends and Rule 15: a rule from my mother: run. As Tina gets closer to exacting revenge for her mothers death, she discovers that she may not have all the facts. Debut author Anderson, a former aid worker, deftly addresses issues in the region in this fast-paced thriller, highlighting the struggles of refugees in war-torn eastern Congo and the human rights violations that women in particular face. Using a smattering of Swahili, Sheng (street slang), and French, Anderson adeptly uses language to bring Tinas world to life as she carefully traces her heroines history to reveal a shocking truth. Ages 12up. Agent: Faye Bender, Book Group. (Jan.)
An inspiring new heroine
Sixteen-year-old Tina lives by the skin of her teeth as a Goonda, a member of the gang of thieves operating in Sangui City (a fictional place in East Africa). Although she has erased most of her past, Tina secretly visits her younger sister, Kiki, at her boarding school. But she has cut ties with the Greyhill family, for whom her mother, Anju, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, once worked as a maid. Except that now Tina hopes to prove what she has long suspected, that mining executive Roland Greyhill is responsible for her mother’s murder.
When Tina breaks into the Greyhill mansion, she is caught by Roland’s son, Michael, her childhood friend. Convinced that his father is innocent, Michael persuades Tina to try to look for the real killer. Michael and Tina, along with fellow thief Boyboy, embark on a perilous search to unravel Anju’s tortuous past—a search that brings them into the midst of unrest and violence.
In Tina, author Natalie C. Anderson has created an unforgettable heroine, who, like Katniss Everdeen and Lisbeth Salander, leaps off the page as a distinct individual, both strong and vulnerable. Tina’s passions—her love for her sister, a desire for revenge and her growing feelings for Michael—drive the narrative forward at breakneck speed.
Anderson drew from stories she heard firsthand while working with refugees in Kenya. While the story is fiction, there is a sobering authenticity in its themes of war, refugees, poverty and violence against women, which are sure to generate discussion in and out of the classroom.
Deborah Hopkinson lives near Portland, Oregon. Her most recent book for young readers is Steamboat School.