While Bella plans a journey to a new life, Manny is left to face the unraveling of the only home he has ever known. Without Bella, his father’s motives and instability is obvious. He is torn between the loyalty to his father and the dependability of his step-sister. The siblings experience whispers, guiding them to follow their instincts, but sometimes these messages are clouded in their own uncertainty. Will they cling to the known, or strike out and shape their own futures, and if they do, how will they ever know a family?
Bella encounters a self-proclaimed, distracted psychic, Gina, who introduces her to new possibilities, but is it too good to be true? Gina and her brother, Slade have been marking time, waiting for acceptance and the passage of grief to embrace a bold lifestyle in a new place. Will all their dreams and plans be woven together in a new tapestry of adventure, or will their lives unravel, leaving them floundering, struggling to redefine what the future might be?
Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 4 stars
Review: Bella Rodriguez is a young girl trapped beneath the stringent confines of her controlling and abusive stepfather. But what made living with him worse were his gang and drug affiliations. That wasn't a life for her. "Home could not be a prison where strange men gathered in the kitchen, waiting with clenched fists and narrowed eyes." (10) A voracious reader, Bella longed to travel to foreign places. "Instead, she was like a caged animal, peering out in quick glimpses, seeking recognition in the faces she saw." (11)
With her mother and older sister gone, her only hope was to escape his clutches and start fresh. "Bella thought it was the best time to begin a new life away from Manuel and Manny. She feared that, if she stayed until graduation, an arrangement would be made. Bella did not know what it would be, but she suspected it would happen like it had with Rosalinda: a disappearance and no further contact." (21)
So, with nothing but a backpack and her mother's bright shawl, she hits the road, never looking back. The reader follows Bella on a fretful journey, battling loneliness and fear, through the dark trails of the unknown. That niggling concern that her stepfather would come looking for her weighed on her because, even without his foreboding presence, "he was the barrier between her future and her freedom." (36) The fact of the matter was that he had pre-arranged for Bella to be "sold" to marriage, and, if he didn't get her back to fulfill that arrangement, he would be out a lot of money.
Passing through town, Bella meets Gina, a "distracted psychic," who believes Bella's impromptu arrival was a charted destiny.
Story is a dramatic tale of strength and adversity. It's a beacon of dreams for those with the courage to go after them.
Well-written and captivating.