Luchi Ann only knows a few things about herself: she was born in a prison in Thailand. Her American mother was an inmate there. And now that her mother has died, Luchi must leave the only place she's ever known and set out into the world. Neither at home as a Thai, because of her fair skin and blond hair, nor as a foreigner, because of her knowledge of Thai life and traditions, Luchi feels as though she belongs nowhere. But as she embarks on an amazing adventure-a journey spanning continents and customs, harrowing danger and exhilarating experiences-she will find the family, and the home, she's always dreamed of. Weaving intricate elements of traditional Thailand into a modern-day fairy tale unique unto itself, Nowhere Girl is a beautifully rendered story of courage, resilience, and finding the one place where you truly belong.
Paquette s (The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies) middle-grade debut has a terrifying premise: after her mother s death, 13-year-old narrator Luchi Ann, who knows nothing of her American heritage and has spent her entire life in a Thai women s prison with her mother, must find her place in the outside world. American but not American, Thai but not really Thai. Where do I belong, with my pale skin, my corn-silk hair, my stone-gray eyes? How can I call any country my own? Armed with a few clues and a letter from her grandmother, Luchi sets off on an adventure that takes her to Bangkok and then on a boat as a stowaway to find her American family. The tautly paced narrative places Luchi in high-stakes situations as she makes discoveries about her family history, as well as herself. Paquette balances the story s cruelties with kindnesses, such as that of a ship captain who safeguards her passage. The highly atmospheric setting and thoughtful, determined narrator create a memorable thriller about identity and belonging. Ages 9 12.