In this groundbreaking novel, Coretta Scott King Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia uses her vividly realistic voice to highlight an often taboo practice that affects millions of girls around the world every year, and to explore a perspective not often depicted in YA fiction. Readers will identify with headstrong, outspoken Akilah, whose struggle to understand what's happened to her best friend reveals a painful truth in an honest and accessible way.Even though they were born in different countries, Akilah and Victoria are true best friends. But Victoria has been acting strange ever since she returned from her summer in Nigeria, where she had a special coming-of-age ceremony. Why does proud Victoria, named for a queen, slouch at her desk and answer the teacher's questions in a whisper? And why won't she laugh with Akilah anymore?
Akilah's name means "intelligent," and she is determined to find out what's wrong, no matter how much detective work she has to do. But when she learns the terrible secret Victoria is hiding, she suddenly has even more questions. The only problem is, they might not be the kind that have answers.