Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on January 1st 1970
Genres: young adult, mystery-thriller
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The more you see, the less you know.
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who does not exist.
Tina and her mother first arrived in Kenya as refugees from Congo desperately searching for a better life. Trading the peril of their besieged village for the busy metropolis of Sangui, they can barely believe their luck when Tina’s mother finds work as a maid for the Greyhills, one of the city’s most illustrious families. But there’s a dark secret lurking behind the family’s immense fortune, and when Tina discovers her mother shot dead in Mr. Greyhill’s private study, she knows he pulled the trigger.
With revenge on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving the streets on her own, working as a master thief with the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job with the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving a long-awaited chance for vengeance. But once Tina returns to the lavish home, she’s overcome by memories of her painful past, and the girl who does not exist is caught red-handed, setting into motion a breathless and dangerous cascade of events that will expose not only the truth behind who killed Tina’s mother, but even more harrowing secrets from Tina’s past that will change everything.
I didn’t really know what to expect from this book, but I had heard so many good things about it. I kind of hate myself for letting it sit unread by my bedside for so long. I enjoyed myself quite a bit.
City of Saints and Thieves is the story of Tina, and her struggle to build herself and her sister a happy life after the devastating murder of her mother. It’s set in Kenya and Congo, and the author brings the setting to life in an atmospheric way. I can completely see why the film rights for this movie have already been sold, and I hope it gets made because I can’t wait to see it brought to life on the big screen.
Tina believes her mother was murdered by Mr. Greyhill, the man her mother used to work for as a maid. City of Saints and Thieves is a revenge story, and Tina plans to find proof that Mr. Greyhill killed her mom with the assistance of a local gang called the Goondas. She breaks into the Greyhill compound to look for proof and runs into a former friend, Mr. Greyhill’s son, Michael.
Part of me cannot believe that this was a debut novel for Natalie Anderson. It’s tightly plotted and suspenseful, the characters are well-developed, and the writing kept me hooked and invested the entire time. Also, we need more books set in Africa, please! This was so good and so well-researched and you can really tell the author put her heart and soul into these pages.
There’s a war going on in Congo between the government and anti-government militias. People are dying and women are being raped and killed, and you never hear about it on the news because it’s Africa and there are no resources there that the US will kill for. That’s really sad. Books like this raise awareness. So on top of a brilliant story with true-to-life characters, you actually learn something and can help educate people if you read this book, review it, or promote it in any way.
So please do. It’s worth your time, I promise.
Natalie C. Anderson is a new favorite author for me. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.