By Ann Cameron
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374315191, 240pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2003
A young Mayan girl’s quest for the family she was stolen from
She was little and quick and pretty. Her mother nicknamed her Colibrí, Spanish for "Hummingbird." At age four she was kidnapped, torn from her parents on a crowded bus in Guatemala City. Since then she's traveled with "Uncle," the ex-soldier and wandering beggar who has renamed her Rosa. Uncle has always told Rosa that he searched for her parents but had no success. There’s almost no chance Rosa will ever find them – but Rosa still remembers and longs for them.
When she was young, Uncle consulted fortune-tellers who told him that Rosa would bring him luck – a treasure big enough to last him all his life. So he’s kept her with him. Together,
they have traveled from town to town in the highlands of Guatemala, scraping out a living, hoping to find the treasure. Eight years have passed, and Rosa has turned twelve. No treasure has been found, and Uncle has almost given up hope. When he turns angry and desperate, danger threatens Rosa from all sides – but especially from Uncle himself.
"Readers will ache with [Tzunún's] longing for love and her need to claim her own individual humanity. Painful, beautiful, and ultimately triumphant." --Starred, Kirkus Reviews
"Achieving an almost hypnotic intensity, this taut novel invites readers to sample both savory and bitter flavors of Guatemalan culture as Cameron creates a melting pot of mixed values, religions, and races...moving and suspenseful." --Starred, Publisher's Weekly
"The taut, chilling suspense and the treasure hunt will keep readers flying through the pages, but it's Cameron's beautiful language and Rosa's larger identity quest that make this novel extraordinary." --Starred, Booklist
"Cameron layers her compelling story with vivid descriptions of setting and weaves into the narrative the complexities inherent in the blending of Mayan and latino cultures and religious practices...A well-written and engrossing read." -Starred, School Library Journal