BOOK REVIEWS

The Land of Forgotten Girls Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-14 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 16 user ratings
ISBN:0062238655
LANGUAGE:English

" Soledad and her sister Ming immigrated from the Philippines and live with their evil stepmother. They survive by relying on their imagination and friends in the neighborhood. This story shows no matter what you should never give up your dreams. " said.

"This is a sad one, but well written. I wondered at moments if it's a little heavy for the target audience. On the one hand, kids need all kinds of books about all kinds of lives - even sad and difficult ones. And no doubt this book speaks to many. On the other hand, I can't quite imagine recommending this book to a child.

After losing their mother in the Philippines, Soledad (12) and Ming (6) come to the United States with their neglectful father and toxic stepmother. In a Louisiana housing project, the girls struggle with their unhappy, isolated lives. But they cling to sisterhood and use their imaginations, wit, and spunk to transport them to happier times. They do also find some allies. . . but I wished for even more hope.
" said.

" 3.5 stars. Review coming soon :)Mini bite size version: This reminds me so much of The War That Saved My Life. The protagonist here, Sol, is also precocious and resilient. And like Ada, she's caught up in a horrible situation with a younger sibling counting on her. This is the kind of middle grade book that's absolutely perfect for teens and adults to read. There are mature themes although the language is still simple while delivering it. Simple, but not childish. " said.

"This book falls into that sad category of "book I really, really wanted to like but just couldn't." I loved that the protagonists were two Filipina sisters (yay diversity!) and that the story didn't shy away from tough topics (death, abandonment, bullying, class divide). Lots of good stuff to work with.

Still, it felt like so much happened and yet nothing happened at all. There are some interesting characters introduced, but I felt like the author missed the opportunity to expand on them. And, yes, I'm going to complain about the ending. I'm okay with no happy ending, but all the crap that Sol and Ming have to go through at the very least deserves some sort of -resolution- There was so much promise in this book and I feel like it really just fell flat in the end.

Last, somewhat nitpicky complaint: the cover. It was beautiful and caught my eye, but could we at least try to make them look Filipina? Sol is described as dark with a flat nose, so even if they didn't have Asian features, could we at least break out the brown crayon for her skin tone?
" said.

"Sol and Ming, two sisters from the Philippines, are living in the unimaginative Magnolia Towers apartments on the outskirts of New Orleans with their evil stepmother, Vea. Yes, they have food, and (secondhand, raggedy) clothes, and shelter, and friends, but that comes with a healthy dose of neglect, verbal (and sometimes physical) abuse, and hopelessness. But what their circumstances lack in imagination, Sol makes up for with her gift for stories inherited from her deceased mom. Sol's tales of magic and princesses and secret portals keep her and her sister from falling into despair.

Some reviewers are disturbed by the difficult and seemingly unsurmountable challenges the characters face, and found the story hard to read. As I pondered the rationale for portraying children in dire circumstances, I came across this quote from Azar Nafisi, the author of Reading Lolita in the Tehran, in which she quotes Nabokov's (the author of Lolita) comments about the horrors found in fairy tales:
"But the magic comes from the power of good, that force which tells us we need not give in to the limitations and restrictions imposed on us by McFate...Every fairy tale offers the potential to surpass present limits, so in a sense the fairy tale offers you freedoms that reality denies."
- From Books for Living by Will Schwalbe (a great book!)

Sol's fairy tales indeed offer an alternate, more hopeful reality for her and Ming, and soften the hard edges of her life, and Sol, as well.






" said.

" There is a lot of hope in this story and it was especially poignant to have the inclusion of a cast of diverse characters. It's also a deeply sad story, but one with moments of lightness and the power of good that will likely shine through. My biggest takeaways are the power of stories and the intense connection of sisters. This would make a great classroom read aloud. " said.

" So sad! Shortly after their mother's death, Sol and Ming's father remarried and brought them to America from the Philippines. Then not long after that he went back home and never returned - leaving the girls in the care of their stepmother - who truly is evil. Sol does everything in her power to protect Ming, but it's a constant struggle. Can Vea and the girls find a way to reconcile, or can Sol find help and friendship outside of their dingy apartment? " said.

"I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and unique. Everyone is trying to write books that are culturally diverse, but you never read books about Filipino girls. I've been looking for some forever since most of my students are immigrants from the Philipines. The author is a second generation immigrant and really does a great job of capturing the experience. It is obvious that she is not a first generation immigrant, but I'll take what I can get! The characters are well developed and lovable. I would highly recommend it and I can't wait to read her other books. " said.

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