Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Murder mystery
What did you like about the book? Five years after her mother’s murder, Tiny is still consumed with anger. She has joined a gang, the Goondas, and has become an accomplished pickpocket and burglar. When she gets the chance to steal information to blackmail and get revenge on the suspected murderer, her mother’s boss and lover, she jumps at it. But there are unseen twists to her plan, and she must face the ugly past and the reality of who is really on her side. Set in contemporary Kenya and The Democratic Republic of Congo, in the upper class and in the world of gangs, militias and refugees, this book is an immersive experience of war and privilege, of grief and retribution. Emotionally charged and full of stories taken from the author’s work as a refugee resettlement worker in the DRC, some of this book is hard to read. Women are used as collateral in war and rape is part of everyday life. The cast of characters is diverse and characterizations are rich and unexpected. Tiny and her compatriots are black or mixed race and her first person narration provides a uniquely personal view of the life of Congolese refugees. Graphic physical violence and suspense make this a grimly compelling read.
To whom would you recommend this book? This is for older teens and adults who like mysteries in exotic or war-torn locales.
Who should buy this book? High school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Teen or adult fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: February 19, 2017