Imagining Isabel: 9

Omar S. Castaneda, Author, Omar S. Castaaneda, Author Dutton Books $15.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-525-67431-3
Delving deeper into the political strife of his native Guatemala, Castaneda produces a compelling sequel to his Among the Volcanoes. The story, told even more thoughtfully and lyrically than its predecessor, begins as issues from that book are resolved--Isabel, 15, marries her boyfriend, Lucas, and she is helping her family recover from the death of her mother when she's accepted by the national teachers' training school in Solola. Leaving her small Mayan village, the girl is initially overwhelmed by the sophistication of her fellow students. Worse trouble arises when an unidentifed soldier leads her to a dead body near the school, and the military subsequently suspects that Isabel belongs to a rebel underground. Castaneda deftly probes a number of difficult issues, including Isabel's desire to follow her dreams in spite of the pull of family and tradition; the search for truth in a baffling political climate; and the struggle of Guatemala to become a modern nation without losing its heritage. While the richness of the prose may prove a challenge to the younger end of the target audience, this rewarding, multifaceted story will inform, teach and entertain. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
Genre: Children's
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