Chanda’s Secrets by Allen Stratton

April 7, 2008
By Kelsey Mosbarger, Littleton, CO

This novel tells a touching story about the struggles of a teenage girl who lives in a small town in Africa with a lot of poverty. This book unlike all of the other cliché stories brings up challenges that not every average teenager has to face.
The main character Chanda, is a sixteen year old girl who has issues with her everyday life. Through out the story she finds who she is and what she believes in, but she also finds out the feeling of loosing loved ones. She’s also faced with one of the harshest, incurable diseases; AIDS.
Chanda’s papa and two older brothers died when she was young in a mining accident, she misses her papa but knows that he is watching over her. Her mama doesn’t seem to be having luck finding another husband. She had five siblings but her two older brothers where killed while working, and her baby sister Sarah, was very ill and unfortunately passed away due to the effects of AIDS.
Chanda is a very bright and intelligent girl and has nothing to do with her life but excel, until her mama starts getting sick and depressed and her step-dad starts drinking more, at first she thinks this behavior is caused by the recent death of Sarah, but over time realizes that that was only one tiny piece to the puzzle.
Things eventually start taking a turn for the worse, and Chanda tries to help as much as possible, but soon realizes that she can’t do very much. She sacrifices many thing just to help her mother.
Not having time to be a kid she matures quickly and learns how to take care of her family and provide for them, she is forced to drop out of school and care for her younger siblings. She truly finds how strong she is and who she is.
I suggest this book to more mature readers who are ready for a touching story, that helps you learn more about other cultures and some major problems in other areas of the word.

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