I lie in bed and study the shadows on my ceiling, leafy and stretched oblong, not so different from the ones in Dayton. I try to work out what I feel about this new place, think I’ll never fall asleep. Then the scent of Mother’s Dayton soap in the sheets blurs me and I’m anesthetized into deep, dark Panama night. She is fifteen, ready for something— anything—to happen. What happens is Panama. The U.S. government has asked her father to help build the Canal. The whole family will go, be a part of this historical event. But Panama isn’t as she imagines. Americans live in the Zone, which has been designed to look and feel just like an American town. She wants more. She wants different. The fantasy is out there. She’ll find it.
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It’s early 1900s; the Wright Brothers are trying to get the first aeroplanes to fly and the Panama Canal is being built. The Canal Zone, Panama is the where this old fashioned love story is set. Told in the first person this novel gives you an insight to a 15 year old girl’s mind. After moving to the Canal Zone with its’ oppressive heat and strange insects she falls for one of the workers, Frederico, a 20 year old Spanish aristocrat. They start a forbidden romance and she becomes very good a lying to her parents.I enjoyed the history throughout the book, although it does start of a little slow. Suited to teenage girls over 16 years.more
A fifteen-year-old girl living in Ohio in the early twentieth century is excited when she learns her family will move to Panama, where her father will have a job helping to build the Panama Canal. She hopes for an exotic and exciting adventure, but is disappointed when she finds that her new home is the Zone, which the Americans have made into a town just like those back home.While visiting a building site for the canal, she meets the intriguing Federico, a young man who seems far too cultured to be an ordinary canal worker. He is sophisticated and loves books - just what she has been looking for. She begins a love affair with him which transitions her from childhood to adulthood, although in the end she finds herself more emotionally invested and heartbroken than she had intended.I was intrigued by the description of this book because I had never read a book about the building of the Panama Canal and I am always on the lookout for unusual historical fiction. But ultimately I was rather disappointed by this book. There were some historical errors, and I was rather unsettled by the sexual relationship between the fifteen-year-old narrator and the much older Federico. Also, and this is more of a personal pet peeve, I was really annoyed that the narrator’s name is never revealed. Overall I wouldn’t highly recommend this book, although it might have some appeal to readers particularly interested in the historical setting.more