An amazing story of the resiliency of a young girl being abused and living in poverty in Argentina! Victoria’s mother has died and she, along with her twin brothers, must live with her Aunt Marta. Marta, Juan (Marta’s live-in-boy friend), and her daughter, Betina, live with Doña Norma, Victoria’s great-aunt. Doña Norma owns the house where they live, but she is an invalid. Victoria yearns to be a teacher, but Aunt Marta forces her to quit school and help with the work around the home and with her ironing business.
Juan has made advances in the past, but when he gets very aggressive in his advances to her, Victoria realizes she can not continue living in the home and be safe. When she runs away, she soon realizes that life on the streets can be as dangerous as what she ran away from.
Fortunately for her, a street boy named Marko befriends her and helps her learn how to survive without having to resort to prostitution or to selling drugs – the usual result for young Argentinian street girls . While Marko looks out for Victoria and manages to keep other men from messing with her, he cannot get himself out of the grip of drug dealers. Victoria realizes he is in danger but is powerless to help him.
However, along with the bad people she encounters, several good people do come into her life to help save her. Victoria is smart enough to see where life on the streets will take her, and wise enough to take advantage of the good that people offer her.
While there are descriptions of violence and sexual advances, there are no overt scenes. I think this book is an excellent way to show young women that they can be true survivors when bad things happen to them. I recommend this for middle school and high school libraries. The cost is $12.95 for the paperback version, but I would hope that wouldn’t be a deterrent to purchasing it.