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After a humiliating failure in class, Mona starts comparing the poverty of her daily life with the prosperity of her young neighbour Suson. She also becomes envious of her neighbour Jon, a young Black boy who gets good grades because he expresses himself so well. Mona serves as guardian angel to her little sister Angélique, who likes to avoid stressful situations by climbing a tree and pretending she is a bird. The sisters live near a small lake, where they often take refuge from a reality that is sometimes just too harsh. One day, they witness a troubling scene; it makes them realize that other people's lives may not be as rosy as they seem.
This novel tells a story that young people will find moving, and possibly even distressing. But each of its difficult themes -- racism, sexual abuse, low self-esteem -- is dealt with in a sensitive and poetic way. The vocabulary, language level and dialogue bring to life a world whose negative aspects are unfortunately only too real. We live, breathe and suffer with the characters. But in the end, beyond all the dreadful secrets, there appears a glimmer of hope.