Reviewed by Grandma Bev for TeensReadToo.com
Child trafficking is a brutal fact of life in some parts of the world, and Rosa is a victim of this practice. She and her parents live in a small Indian village in Mexico where their life is one of grinding poverty. The crops fail yet again. Rosa hopes against hope that her father will take her to the city with him when he goes there to sell flowers to the tourists. Her dreams are answered, and with great excitement; Rosa and her father travel to Santa Maria, but instead of selling flowers, Rosa is sold to a household where she will be employed as a servant. Rosa can't understand this betrayal, and waits impatiently for the weekend when she is sure that her father will come back for her--but she waits in vain.
Her life of servitude is punctuated by the brutal rape by the man of the house on a weekly basis. When Rosa's pregnancy is discovered by the lady of the house, she is turned out into the street to survive by her wits. Alone and friendless, Rose believes that she has dishonored her family, and after the baby is born, she decides to end her life as soon as she finds a home for her child.
Based on fact, this heartbreaking story brings attention to issues we only hear about; child abuse and exploitation. Hamilton clearly describes the harsh realities of being a child slave in an impoverished country. Rosa is a fully realized character who experiences despair over the conflict between her people's traditional ways and city life. Details of rural historical Mexico's culture and religions are integrated into the story smoothly.
However, life takes a turn for the better when Rosa's suicide is prevented, and she finds sanctuary in a mission that helps young girls in her predicament. Will she ever see her family again? This book is impossible to put down, and one that you will never forget.