This novel was much too long. I found Colleen to be rather shallow and whiny for most of the story. When given the chance to re-invent herself at school in Swaziland, Colleen chooses to continue to be an outcast in spite of her insistence that she wants to fit in. Colleen’s relationship with her cousin, Kalyna—whose funeral Colleen is returning for at the beginning of the story—is underdeveloped, leaving readers wondering why Colleen is so changed by her death. With three relatively unknown cultures represented (Canadian, Ukranian, and African), its daunting length, and the fact that it takes place in the 1980s, this book has three strikes against it from the outset.
Recommended in a lukewarm way for students in grades 10-12.