cover image Where I Belong

Where I Belong

Gillian Cross. Holiday House, $17.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2332-3

Cross (the Dark Ground trilogy) delivers a tightly crafted story about intersecting cultures and conflicted identities, told from three narrative perspectives. In London, down-to-earth Freya feels out of synch with her mother%E2%80%99s world of cutting-edge fashion design; on another side of the city, Abdi lives with his sisters and mother, who fled Somalia when she was pregnant with Abdi (their father has gone missing). After drought in Somalia sends 13-year-old Kadija to England to live as Abdi%E2%80%99s sister, she meets Freya and her mother, Sandy, in an Internet caf%C3%A9, and Sandy offers Kadija a modeling job as the face of her new Somali-inspired collection. Kadija is conflicted, but when her brother is kidnapped from a refugee camp and his captors demand ransom money, she agrees to appear in Sandy%E2%80%99s runway show, which is to be staged in the very country where her brother%E2%80%99s life is being threatened. With a light touch, Cross lets readers formulate their own conclusions to hard-hitting questions about the fashion industry, global inequity, and the turmoil that can arise within cultural contact zones. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (Apr.)