Allende’s haunting, powerful, and lyrical novel proves that nothing can ever be broken and abused beyond repair — neitherpeople nor nations. Allende captures the charismatic, raw voice of a defiantly self-destructive yet heart-breakingly fragile American teen with the same shimmering perfection as she does the quiet, redemptive spirit of a windblown Chilean village.
Maya Vidal doesn’t miss her absent and neglectful parents — her eccentric and loving grandparents provide all the love she needs. But when her grandfather dies and her grandmother plunges into depression, Maya spirals into a nightmare of drug addiction, sexual abuse and unwitting complicity in sinister crimes. Suddenly wanted by both a ruthless syndicate and the FBI, she is secreted to a remote but welcoming fishing village in her grandmother’s native Chile, where the aftershocks of the country’s brutal military dictatorship still have the power to destroy its survivors more than three decades later. (Harper, May, 400 pp., $28.99)