After finally managing to escape from being held as a virtual slave in an illegal cocaine operation, young Diego is taken in by the Ricardos, a poor, coca-farming family who provides a safe haven while he recovers from his ordeal. But even that brief respite comes to an end when the Bolivian army moves in and destroys the family's coca crop and their livelihood. Diego eventually joins the cocaleros as they protest the destruction of their crops by barricading the roads and confronting the army head on. As tension builds to a dramatic standoff, he wonders whether he’ll ever find a way to return to his family. This thought-provoking book offers a different perspective of the war on drugs, revealing the terrible price it exacts from Bolivians who have grown coca for legitimate purposes for hundreds of years. And like all of Ellis’ books, it offers a sensitive and compelling look at the plight of children in developing countries.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The fast-paced action continues in this sequel to ``I am a Taxi``. When Diego escapes from slavery, he is taken in by a family of cocoa farmers and he finds himself in the middle of a protest between the Bolivian government and cocoa farmers. This book ends with a complex and unresolved situation, and leaves the reader wondering what will become of Diego next. It has strong messages for standing up for your beliefs and is empowering to young adults.
I like to read how these novels are progressing. From the first, which emphasized the illegal status of cocaine production and some of the damage done to indigenous Bolivians, this novel emphasized the role of indigenous activists in pushing for change. It refers briefly to the Cochabamba water wars, and provides a deeper background on why the coca leaf is important to indigenous Bolivians. Nicely-paced plot, great characters.