When ten-year-old Libète stumbles upon a murdered mother and her infant child, she has already seen her own share of suffering. Hardened by life in the slums of Cité Soleil, this injustice rattles her to her core. Blessed (or cursed?) with a curious mind, a strong sense of right and wrong, and a combustible temper, she throws herself into finding the killer despite the dangers that stand in her way.
But Libète was not always this way. Born on the island of La Gonâve to a loving mother, her peaceful upbringing ended with her mother’s death from a mysterious illness at the age of six. Sent across the water to live with her aunt and uncle in Cité Soleil as a restavek, or child servant, her sweet disposition quickly withers in the slum. Brought up and educated by everyday suffering--violence between gangs and police and her aunt’s cruel blows--her past has prepared her for many, but not all, of the struggles that lie ahead.
A boy dismissed by the world, Libète has no greater friend than him.
While orphaned like Libète, the two couldn’t be more different. Where Libète is brash and bold, Jak is kind, timid and wise beyond his years. Where she has an extended family, food, and home, he has only a senile grandmother, borrowed rice, and a simple shelter of tin sheeting. Yet there is more to the boy than meets the eye. While showing all of the telltale signs of malnutrition and stunted growth, he has a brilliant mind as starved for knowledge as his body is for food.
When Libète first arrives in Cité Soleil, it turns the boy’s small world upside down. Prone to teasing and abuse by the other children, he bears their injuries quietly. But as Libète learns the rough and tumble ways of life in the slum, she becomes his unlikely defender and best friend.
Now as the pair are faced with an unthinkable crime, his own keen observation and intelligence propel their investigation forward even while his better judgment tells him to run the opposite direction.