For the first time in days, I hear voices. I’m curled over on myself, pressed into my cramped hiding spot, clinging to the dark like it’s a lifejacket.

The voices move closer.

They’ll pass by, like they have before. They’ll go somewhere else. They have to.

But they don’t.

Laughter roars just above me, and through a chink in the tarp I see dirty gray running shoes move closer. I push myself tighter into a ball. They don’t know I’m here; maybe they won’t see me. Then the cover is ripped away and everything moves very fast: a roar of frigid air; a blinding wash of light; men’s voices raised in shock and alarm.

I’ve been discovered.

Just as quickly, the tarp falls back on top of me. I am alone with my terror. The voices mutter to each other, growing louder and harder and fiercer.

They were caught off guard, but they’ll soon decide what to do. They’ll rip away the cover for good this time—and then what?

Excerpt copyright © 2011 A.J. Paquette

About the book:

Fourteen-year-old Luchi is anything but an ordinary American teenager. Born in a remote country prison in Northern Thailand, her mother’s death pushes Luchi into the outside world–and into the web of secrets that was her mother’s past. A coming-of-age story that follows a compelling character on her journey across continents, and oceans, and into a future she cannot begin to imagine.

What people are saying:

“A lovely Cinderella tale.”–Mitali Perkins, author of Monsoon Summer and Rickshaw Girl

“The tautly paced narrative places Luchi in high-stakes situations as she makes discoveries about her family history, as well as herself. … The highly atmospheric setting and thoughtful, determined narrator create a memorable thriller about identity and belonging.”–Publishers Weekly

“The teen’s taut narration captures the strangeness of her circumstances, her conflicting familiarity and insecurity with Thai culture, and her emerging sense of self and independence. The protagonist is an appealing heroine caught in a hazy web of family secrets, but determined to fulfill her mother’s last words, ‘Go home.’”–School Library Journal

Released: September 13, 2011

About the author:

Ammi-Joan Paquette (A. J. Paquette) is the author of THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO TRACKING FAIRIES (Tanglewood, 2009), which was on the ABC’s Best of 2009 list and was featured in Scholastic: Parent and Child magazine; and the middle-grade novel NOWHERE GIRL (Walker/Bloomsbury, 2011), and was a 2005 PEN-NE Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award honoree. She is also a literary agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, representing the authors of picture books through YA novels. She lives outside of Boston with her family and her very tall to-read pile. You can visit her at