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2005 – Chanda’s Secrets, by Allan Stratton

April 7, 2009

A girl’s struggle amid the African AIDS pandemic.

As soon as I get back from the shabeen, I go next door to see Mrs. Tafa. I have to ask to use her phone to let our relatives know about Sara. I’m nervous. Mrs. Tafa would like to run the world. Since she can’t run the world she’s decided to run our neighborhood.

So speaks sixteen-year-old Chanda, an astonishingly perceptive girl living in the small city of Bonang, a fictional city in Southern Africa. While Mrs. Tafa’s hijinks are often amusing, the fact is that Chanda’s world is profoundly difficult. When her youngest sister dies, the first hint of HIV/AIDS emerges.

In this sensitive, swiftly-paced story readers will find echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird as Chanda must confront undercurrents of shame and stigma. Not afraid to explore the horrific realities of AIDS, Chanda’s Secrets also captures the enduring strength of loyalty, friendship and family ties. Above all, it is a story about the corrosive nature of secrets and the healing power of truth.

Through the artful style of acclaimed author Stratton, the determination and resilience Chanda embodies will live on in readers’ minds.

Post links to reviews of or your thoughts on this book in the comments.

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