Broken Moon

Kim Antieau, Author . S&S/McElderry $15.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4169-2932-1

Antieau's (Mercy, Unbound ) moving story set in modern-day Pakistan unfolds in diary entries written by 18-year-old Nadira, addressed to her six-year-old brother, Umar. Gradually, she describes the misfortunes that have befallen her once-happy family, beginning five years ago when Nadira "got hurt." After her eldest brother was accused of raping a village girl, the sentence was "that the father and brothers of the girl got permission to attack" Nadira, leaving her with a moon-shaped scar on her face. Her family then moves to the city of Karachi, where Nadira assists the cook of kind Begum Naseem. After her father dies, Nadira's mother and Umar move in with their mother's cruel brother, Rubel. Nadira's strong, often poetic voice softens the harshness of her situation, and allows readers to experience the sounds, tastes and smells of her native land. She is one of few women who can read, and makes frequent references to Shahrazad (from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights ), her role model for bravery. To the gentle gardener who wishes to marry her, Nadira confides for the first time the truth of what happened on the night of her attack: that she was raped. She then disguises herself as a boy in order to rescue Umar, sold as a camel boy by Rubel. It is to the author's credit that she preserves the humanity in these events, characterizing them as realities in a poverty-stricken culture where survival drives people to acts of great horror and also great heroism. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/26/2007
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Children's
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