Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 07/01/2018 Gr 3–6—Nora's life changed forever when she lost her father and home in a fire. Nora and her mother now live in her father's mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery in the Philippines. Nora spends her days dreaming about when she can go back to school as she sells daisy chains to funeral visitors. Nora and her mother also serve as labanderas, or washerwomen, to various people in the nearby community. But they continue to lose jobs as Nora's mother's gambling addiction grows. Nora's situation often feels hopeless, and after her mother's disappearance, she takes matters into her own hands. The girl feels there is no one she can trust after being conned and deserted by extended family in the past, but along the way discovers she has a greater support system than she expected in her fellow cemetery squatters, especially Jojo and his grandmother who help and support her even when things get dangerous. Cruz offers an important and engaging tale. Filipino terms are interspersed throughout, and unfamiliar readers can rely on context clues to keep the natural flow of the story. There is also a glossary at the back. At its heart, this is a story about friendship and family—the one we're born into and the one we make. VERDICT This moving title should find a place in all libraries looking for authentic and powerful middle grade stories.—Kristyn Dorfman, The Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 10/01/2018 Nora is a 12-year-old Filipino girl living with her mother in a cemetery, in the grave where her father is buried. Her mother is addicted to gambling on mahjong, and one day she doesn’t return home. Nora sets out to find her, starting a dangerous journey that uncovers not only family secrets but also Nora’s own strength and resilience. Cruz does a wonderful job showing readers a life that many will know nothing about. The description and imagery of life in the cemetery is rich, as the narrative exposes snapshots of various people including other children, families, and even missionaries. The subject matter becomes extremely heavy for the intended age group, as Nora worries constantly about finances and survival, and the tone is sad with Nora’s despair over her current and future life. This impactful debut novel shows young readers the devastating reality of life for some children in the world, introduces them to a new language and culture, and demonstrates the power of family and neighbors, courage, hope, and, most of all, perseverance. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.

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