Published: July 9th, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Purchase on: Amazon
"That boy is like the bamboo...foreign and unknown in this environment. But like the bamboo, if you plant and nurture it in the right soil, it has the potential to grow vibrant and strong."
Walking with a pronounced limp all her life has never stopped fifteen-year-old Kiva Mau from doing what she loves. While most girls her age are playing sports and perfecting their traditional Samoan dance, Kiva finds serenity in her sketchbook and volunteering at the run-down art center her extended family owns, nestled amongst the bamboo.
When seventeen-year-old Ryler Cade steps into the art center for the first time, Kiva is drawn to the angry and misguided student sent from abroad to reform his violent ways. Scarred and tattooed, a friendship is formed when the gentle Kiva shows him kindness and beauty through art, until circumstances occur beyond their control and they are pulled away. Immersed in the world of traditional art and culture, this is the story of self-sacrifice and discovery, of acceptance and forbearance, of overcoming adversity and finding one’s purpose. Spanning years, it is a story about an intuitive girl and a misunderstood boy and love that becomes real when tested.
In front of her laid eleven slabs of dark wood, not smooth like a dining room table’s but jutted and ragged in places. She recognized the shapes of incomplete patterns, some more defined than others.
“It was interesting,” he said almost to himself. “Some of the students took to it like they’d been carving most of their lives. Others had a harder time grasping an idea for themselves.”
Kiva scanned each slab carefully, some impressing her with their arcs and straight lines, and attempted to guess the work of the boy with the mysterious tattoo. Her instincts led her to one and she paused.
She stared unblinking. And read. And reread the sentence again.
This is stupid.
Her eyes narrowed at the words, a slashing of letters that looked almost like graffiti, the lack of care and respect evident in the way he had deliberately scarred the wood. She couldn’t help but feel a burn igniting on the inside. Why didn’t her uncle stop this? She wondered briefly what he would do, how he would handle this at the next class.
Mau shook his head and chuckled beside her, taking her by surprise. She swung her head to him.
“How is this funny?” she asked, concerned for the challenge ahead of him.
Her uncle wiped the sweat from his brow. “He has guts, I’ll give him that.”
“What are you going to do? You can’t accept this.” Kiva waved a hand in its direction as if to make it disappear off the table.
“Don’t be upset, Kiva. I asked these students to tell a story, their story. It can be a very personal thing to do. If this boy, Ryler, has a hard time telling it, then he just needs time. Anger usually veils itself as fear. He will come around. He just needs a little time. A little direction.”
Kiva’s mind tried to process her uncle’s words, but it lingered on his name. Ryler. So his name was Ryler. “How are you not upset about this? He’s disrespected you,” she retorted.
Mau’s mouth twisted to the side like a shrug. “It could have been worse.”
“He could have carved, ‘This is effing stupid.’”
Tour organized by: YA Bound Book Tours