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Author: Resau, Laura
Fifteen-year-old Zeeta comes to terms with her flighty mother and their itinerant life when, soon after moving to Ecuador, she helps an American teenager find his birth father in a nearby village.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 4.80
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 134284
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 48271
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (09/15/09)
School Library Journal (12/01/09)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (01/10)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/01/2009 After 15 countries in 15 years, roaming the world with her free-spirited mother, Zeeta regrets that it’s “too late now for a normal home, normal family, normal childhood.” At their new home in Ecuador, she agrees to help Wendell, an American boy who has come in search of his birth parents. Just when a near-death experience sends her mother reeling toward “normal,” Zeeta veers off in the opposite direction: she looks to her unconventional upbringing for wisdom and support as she and Wendell uncover old secrets and find themselves in mortal danger. Observant, aware, and occasionally wry, Zeeta’s first-person narration will attract readers and hold them. Not all will find the magical elements woven into the story satisfying, but some will find them enchanting. The romance starts almost imperceptibly and builds gradually, believably throughout the novel. Resau, the author of What the Moon Saw (2006) and Red Glass (2007), offers another absorbing novel with a Latin American setting. - Copyright 2009 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2009 Gr 6–9— This is a family and friendship story turned adventure tale with a touch of romance and an even slighter hint of fantasy. Zeeta, 15, wishes most of all that her mother would settle down so that they could have a regular life, rather than moving her from country to country, quoting the Sufi poet Rumi at every opportunity, and getting involved with eccentric, irresponsible men. As they arrive at their latest destination, a small town in the mountains of Ecuador, Zeeta meets Wendell, an American boy in search of his birth parents. When she agrees to help him in his quest, she becomes involved in a mysterious and ultimately dangerous adventure. As the suspense heats up and becomes more intense, Zeeta's mother is engaged in her own adventure: a relationship with a man who wants her to settle down and become responsible. The change in Layla forces Zeeta to question what she values about her mother, and whether she really wants that suburban lifestyle after all. Well plotted, with a cast of likable and interesting secondary characters and a powerfully atmospheric setting that includes a cave of crystals and a waterfall supposed to have magical powers, this novel succeeds at creating a believable and touchingly gentle romance between Zeeta and Wendell. The fantastic element, Wendell's inherited gift of seeing into the future, is deftly handled. An entertaining and suspenseful read.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City - Copyright 2009 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2010 Zeeta’s mother has a serious case of wanderlust, moving Zeeta to a new country every year or so, and Zeeta is getting tired of it. She wants a normal life, with a normal mother and a normal stepfather; boring, she thinks, would be a welcome change from having to adjust to a new country, a new language, and new culture every year. Stuck in Otavalo, Ecuador, she meets Wendell, a cute American guy who has great adoptive parents but longs to meet his Ecuadorian birth parents. She acts as his translator, and they travel to a small country village where they do in fact discover his parents, along with some unsavory and even dangerous secrets surrounding them. Meanwhile, it looks as though she is about to get what she wants: her mother, after having a near-death experience in a sacred waterfall, has decided to take up with a very nice, very settled American financial consultant and seems to be losing herself in the process. Zeeta is an effective guide for readers as well as for Wendell in this exotic landscape; the strategies that she has developed to cope with constant upheaval and cultural shift enable her to naturalize relationships with strangers by getting at core values right from the outset, under the guise of recording her experiences and insights in her series of color-coded notebooks. Her own questioning of what she really wants also facilitates readerly connections; holding the exciting plot, evocative setting, and unusual experiences up to the rhythms of a more ordinary life enables readers to share Zeeta’s ultimate epiphany that she is, in fact, living the life others only dream of. Obviously, this point of view is somewhat romanticized despite the dangers and discomforts Zeeta and Wendell encounter, but readers looking for inspiration and impetus to get out and see the world will find this a satisfying outing. KC - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.