No Laughter Here
By Rita Williams-Garcia
(Amistad, Hardcover, 9780688162474, 144pp.)
Publication Date: January 2004
List Price: $15.99*
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Even though they were born in different countries, Akilah and Victoria are true best friends. But Victoria has been acting strange ever since she returned from her summer in Nigeria, where she had a special coming-of-age ceremony. Why does proud Victoria, named for a queen, slouch at her desk and answer the teacher's questions in a whisper? And why won't she laugh with Akilah anymore?
Akilah's name means "intelligent," and she is determined to find out what's wrong, no matter how much detective work she has to do. But when she learns the terrible secret Victoria is hiding, she suddenly has even more questions. The only problem is, they might not be the kind that have answers.
In this groundbreaking novel, Coretta Scott King Honor winner Rita Williams-Garcia uses her vividly realistic voice to explore an often taboo practice that affects millions of girls around the world every year. Readers will identify with headstrong, outspoken Akilah, whose struggle to understand what's happened to Victoria reveals a painful truth in an honest and accessible way.
Winner of the PEN/Norma Klein Award, Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of five other distinguished novels for young adults: Blue Tights, Every Time a Rainbow Dies, Fast Talk on a Slow Track, Like Sisters on the Homefront, and No Laughter Here, the latter four of which were chosen as ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Like Sisters on the Homefront was also named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and a best book of the year by ALA Booklist, School Library Journal, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, and Publishers Weekly. She has also written an acclaimed novel for middle-grade readers, One Crazy Summer, which the New York Times called "a powerful and affecting story of sisterhood and motherhood."
Rita Williams-Garcia is currently a faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults Program. She has two daughters, Michelle and Stephanie, and lives in Jamaica, New York.