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by Padma Venkatraman


School Library Journal:

/* Starred Review */ Gr 6–9— Isolated from the influence of the mainland, the En-ge people live on one of the Andaman Islands east of India. Uido, daughter of the chief hunter, has the special ability to enter the Otherworld where spirits can send her messages and guidance. Because of this natural affinity, she is chosen to train as the next oko-jumu , or spiritual leader and healer, of the tribe. The position carries increasing responsibility as strangers arrive on the island and the tribe needs strong leadership to ensure their spiritual, cultural, and physical survival. Readers are fully immersed in the lives of the fictionalized En-ge tribe, whose language, culture, and beliefs are based on ethnographic studies of native Andaman Islanders. Despite how unfamiliar her life may seem, readers will immediately connect with Uido. The doubt she feels in her own abilities will resonate with teens, as will her conviction to protect the ways of her people even if they cannot continue to live in isolation. The first-person narration encourages readers to feel Uido’s fears, curiosity, joy, grief, and determination. Vividly written and expertly paced, Venkatraman’s novel delivers a moving story that will stay with readers long after the end.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL –Amanda Raklovits (Reviewed August 1, 2011) (School Library Journal, vol 57, issue 8, p124)


  • Amelia Bloomer Lists – Middle Graders Fiction: 2012
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice – Books for Youth – Older Readers Category: 2011
  • YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults: 2012


6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Folklore, Teen