Reading level: Young AdultHardcover: 208 pagesPublisher: Cinco Puntos Press; 1 edition (April 12, 2011)
Khosi lives with her beloved grandmother Gogo, her little sister Zi, and her weekend mother in a matchbox house on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In that shantytown, it seems like somebody is dying all the time. Billboards everywhere warn of the disease of the day. Her Gogo goes to a traditional healer when there is trouble, but her mother, who works in another city and is wasting away before their eyes, refuses even to go to the doctor. She is afraid and Khosi doesn't know what it is that makes the blood come up from her choking lungs. Witchcraft? A curse? AIDS? Can Khosi take her to the doctor? Gogo asks. No, says Mama, Khosi must stay in school. Only education will save Khosi and Zi from the poverty and ignorance of the old Zulu ways.
School, though, is not bad. There is a boy her own age there, Little Man Ncobo, and she loves the color of his skin, so much darker than her own, and his blue-black lips, but he mocks her when a witch's curse, her mother's wasting sorrow, and a neighbor's accusations send her and Gogo scrambling off to the sangoma's hut in search of a healing potion.
If you read any contemporary YA book's this year make sure this is at the top of that list. The cover of the book was not appealing to me at all. It is more "real" and didn't have all the photoshop done to it. The premise of the book didn't really speak to me either. I know nothing of most other cultures. Really I just wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I am so glad I did!
I know nothing about African living or their way of life, so to me I was going in blind. Khosi the MC, knows all abut AIDS and how to contract it. She is also a virgin and tends to stay that way until she is ready. Khosi may be 14 but in Africa it's normal to start marriage so young. Khosi has a run in with a local drunk and he starts stalking Khosi. The law in Africa is not the same law here. Khosi's mother has also fallen ill, they believe the neighbor had a local witch curse her. All Khosi wants to do is earn an education and use her knowledge to help her own people.
It's amazing to see the blending of religions and education. I was so wrapped up in the perplexity of another culture and their way of life. I found it so easy to get lost in This Thing Called the Future. Superior written characters, that streamed perfectly into the plot. Some points you could feel every stitch of pain caused by so much turmoil. You could also feel the blessings in the little things that happen in life. You learn not to take for granted all that is offered in our own lives. The wonderment of how much was packed into 200+ pages. It may have been short but it was brimming over with perfected words.