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BIBLIO:2014, Annick Press Ltd., 12 to 18, $12.95.
FORMAT: Young Adult
Meet Fiona, Sylvie and Laiping. These three young women have a very distinct voice along with very different journeys they are currently embarking. Although their journey's are seemingly different there is one common thread between them. That thread is a substance known as Coltan or Blue Gold. This substance is a mineral used in the production of cell phones and other electronics. The demand for this precious mineral is high. The need for it has caused conflict even worse than conflict as a result of World War II. The result of conflict has left over seven million people dead, hundreds of thousands of refugees and a ridiculous number of rape victims in Eastern Congo. Fiona is a Canadian from Vancouver. Her connection to Coltan is the loss of her cell phone with an incriminating boob shot she texted to her boyfriend. When this picture gets into the wrong hands, she finds that it has been posted online and she has to endure all the jokes and even has become an outcast.
Sylvie is from Tanzania and lives in a refugee camp only because her village was overrun by soldiers. Her father was brutally killed and she and her mother were raped. Her face is now scarred from the cut of a machete and she is put in a position of fear and a pain that will last a lifetime. She wants to get away but the camp warlord has other plans for her and if she doesn't follow along others may die.
Laiping lives in China and works in a factory that makes cell phones and the like. Her parents want her to move to the city and get a job. Her cousin gave her the impression that working in the factory could result in her having a lush life. But, she soon finds that is not the case. On the factory campus there is a group or regiment that squash any dreams she may have. How will these three young women escape and prevail over their lives is what readers will seek to find.
Author Elizabeth Stewart has created a great fast paced read with a powerful message. Young readers will be engaged and enlightened as they learn about Coltan and its uses. We are a technologically driven society and this story is most certain to hit home. Well written characters and vivid, sometimes disturbing incidents, will have readers paying attention and appreciating the life they live.