The Land of Forgotten Girls – review

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Antrada Kelly

The Land of Forgotten Girls
by Erin Entrada Kelly
Published: March 1st 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: middle grade, contemporary
Pages: 304p
Source: library borrow
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Two sisters from the Philippines, abandoned by their father and living in impoverished circumstances in Louisiana, fight to make their lives better.

Soledad has always been able to escape into the stories she creates. Just like her mother always could. And Soledad has needed that escape more than ever in the five years since her mother and sister died and her father moved Sol and her youngest sister from the Philippines to Louisiana. Then he left, and all Sol and Ming have now is their evil stepmother, Vea. Sol has protected Ming all this time, but then Ming begins to believe that Auntie Jove—their mythical, world-traveling aunt—is really going to come rescue them. Have Sol’s stories done more harm than good? Can she protect Ming from this impossible hope?

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As much as I would love to be in love with a story about two sisters being strong in the face of an awful stepmother, I wasn’t. It was a similar experience to the one I had with Bridge to Terabithia. I bought into the story, it’s definitely interesting… but I couldn’t connect with the characters until around three-quarters of the way through. By that point, it’s a bit too late for me. I can appreciate it at the surface, but I haven’t really been drawn into the narrative.

Most of the minor characters made an impact, sometimes more than Soledad and Ming themselves. Manny, Soledad’s friend, was particularly obnoxious. Scene setting through senses and private moments between characters, Sol and Mrs. Yeung in particular, were its strengths. The final third of the novel was the strongest. Mrs. Yeung got a few smiles out of me at least. It was actually Mrs. Yeung that I connected with first, even though I have more in common with Soledad.

All in all, this was just okay for me. Nothing stood out as particularly good or bad.

What was the last book you didn’t really connect with?

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One thought on “The Land of Forgotten Girls – review

  1. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t connect with this one. The story sounds interesting, but maybe a little too bleak for my liking (at least based on the summary, which mentions the death of the children’s mother and sister). I wonder whether my girls would like the book. They’re voracious readers of MG fiction at the moment.

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