In this story we follow Kiva from about the age of 15 to around 22. She lives with her Aunt and Uncle in Samoa. This is the first time that I have read anything located in this area of the world, and I loved how the author not only told the story of Kiva, but also weaved in some Samoan culture and tradition, it really opened my eyes to what life is like there.
Kiva walks with a limp as when she was born her legs were not the same length. She feels left out of some of the culture and traditions like typical Samoan dances and things, however, she does not let this become who or what she is.
It has been a long time since I have read a book with so many powerful messages in it, and it was written in a way that they were not shoved in your face or anything, it was beautiful.
The other main character that we meet is Ry, he lives in the US with his Mom and Step-Dad, however, due to his actions and violence that he is constantly bringing in to his life, they send him to Samoa to go to school for his last year of high school, it is not exactly a military school, but it is close.
Kiva meets Ry when his school is brought to her Uncles art studio for classes on carving. She notices him right away as he stands out from all the other students. He is not in a good spot in his life when he comes there, and he is not looking to make new friends. As situations arise, they are put together more and more and do end up being friends. I think that it was good for both of them, she calms him down, and he makes her realize what she is living without.
She is an artist, and she has dreams of going to school and studying art. She gets a scholarship to go to a different country and study, however, it is only for classes that she is not interested in, and her Uncle ends up having a stroke, so she declines the scholarship in the end. She feels like she has to stay with her family now more than ever, but it does take a toll on her.
This book covers so many different relationships that we have in life, from family to friends to romantic ones. They are all written very realistically and from the heart, I would be interested to know where the inspiration came from.
If you are looking for a good coming of age story from two different perspectives, this is the book for you! I give this one a 4/5 and cannot wait to read more of what the author has to offer.