Posted by Izzy G. on Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Author: Heidi Ayarbe
Release Date: April 21st, 2010
Published by: Harper Collins
Goodreads Rating: 3.92 stars
Amazon Rating: 4.86 stars
Synopsis: With a con-man dad and a long-gone mom, the only thing that makes sense to Maya is science. In fact, every time her dad’s cons go wrong, she has a scientific way to fix it, to keep both of them safe and together.
Only this time Maya’s scientific method doesn’t work. She finds herself stuck in an orphanage, and then living on the street, where scientific laws don’t apply, with two unlikely allies, and she has to learn to live on instinct alone. But when Maya goes off in search of an aunt she’s never met in hopes of finding some semblance of stability in her chaotic world, she finds something even more important: her own strength.
Review: I found this book had incredibly honest characters. Maya is a very smart girl who relies a lot on science to get her through things, but it never came across as irritating to read about her spouting off facts or dealing with things by creating a plan with the scientific method. She's always lived a relatively sheltered life, so of course it's a big jump for her to be in an orphanage filled with tough, cynical kids, let alone the street, but she continues to be brave and strong instead of feeling sorry for herself all the time.
Nicole was also an excellent character. I didn't like her at first, but there was a lot more to her than on the surface, and I felt a great deal of sympathy when I learned more about her. But she's more than just the depressed-girl-with-a-horrible-life, because she has such a developed personality, from her extensive knowledge of mobsters to her ability to memorize everything she hears. Her friendship with Maya developed nicely and never felt false or forced.
The plot was original and an intriguing glimpse at something often overlooked not just in YA books but media in general, homelessness. It's a honest view of the hardships suffered by those who live on the streets, and doesn't shy away from the more difficult aspects of the subject. The one thing I didn't find realistic, however, was how Maya was so reluctant to shoplift even when there was no other way for her to get the food or medicine she needed. I could understand it if she was just uncomfortable doing it, but if you really need medicine, there's no other way to get it, and you know you really can get away with it, you're not going to refuse to shoplift for moral reasons.
At times, I had difficulty connecting with Maya. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but when sad things happened, I never really felt distraught, and it's usually easy for books and movies to send me into tears. I will say that at the biggest, saddest part, I felt like I'd been punched in the gut, so even if like me you have trouble relating to her, the book can still impact you.
Overall, I enjoyed this book with its raw story and powerful message. I wish I could have gotten more into it, but I did like it and I would recommend it to those who can handle reads on the more depressing side of things.