Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i. Here her life is supposed to end---but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.
My Thoughts:OMG! I love this book! I loved how it was filled with history of Hawaii and the history of the leprosy epidemic during the mid 1800s to mid 1900s. It is very evident that Alan Brennert did a lot of research to bring out not only the history of this leprosy colony but also how the people there and around them felt about this awful disease. I also enjoyed how Brennert presented his research as storytelling instead of a history lesson. I did not find his information boring at all but found myself being very intrigued instead.
I was enamored with the main character, Rachel. She had such a tragic life, surrounded by disease and death, but yet she still stayed strong and kept being hopeful for the future. I admired her strong will and her caring heart. I was in tune with her emotions. I found myself laughing with her, cried at all the deaths and separations with her, and felt her misery and hope with her. I wanted to just hug her and tell her how brave she was.
As tragic as the story was, I loved it. I loved how it brought out all these emotions in me and I loved how I was able to connect with the characters. I did not find any flaws with this book. It has become my new favorite.
I give it: