Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com
Things will never be the same for thirteen-year-old Pia, now that he has leprosy. He will be sent off to the island of Molokai to die with others who have the same condition, ripped from the arms of his ohana, his family. No more comfort from his mother and sister, nor from the only father figure he's ever known, Kamaka.
Since even Kamaka has shunned him, and because the island of outcasts is a place with no law, Pia quickly learns to harden his heart, and to do what he must to survive for as long as he can.
This is the story of the neglect and abandonment of people, the loss of a beloved culture, and the strength of a young boy facing extreme obstacles. But most of all, this is a story of forgiveness and hope.
Joyce Moyer Hostetter, author of BLUE, tells another historical tale of an epidemic that once clutched the very souls of the inflicted and spun their lives out of control. She shows the strength and determination that can rise from those tossed into the worst imaginable conditions and she doesn't hide the ugliness that unfolds with it. It's a balanced story that explores a specific time and place with obvious accuracy and integrity, and it's woven around the personal experiences of one brave but lost boy.
Strong writing and a uniquely captivating story!