When Maya's grandfather, the man who along with her grandmother raised her, dies, Her life goes completely off track. She resorts to a life of drugs, alcohol, and crime in a misguided attempt to bury the pain eventually leading to a life on the streets of Las Vegas and putting her on the run from drug dealers and the FBI. When she was at the absolute bottom her grandmother finally finds her and sends her to a remote location in Chile to both hide and heal.
I really struggled with this book. I found Maya to be an unbelievable character. The book is written in the form of journal entries in which the events are related in a non-linear format, going back and forth between her recounting the events in the past and her current life. That would have been fine if it weren't for the completely unemotional tone in which they are written with zero sense of urgency, even as the situation is headed toward the inevitable climax. Maya herself was a wholly unsympathetic character who had a vocabulary unbelievable in a well educated adult, let alone a young girl who barely graduated high school. This was Allende's first attempt at a young adult novel, and I think it was a complete miss. If this is at all indicative of her further attempts at the genre, she may just want to stick to what she does best, magical realism written for adults.