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Dakar is scared. When her family left East Africa to spend a year or two in Cottonwood, North Dakota, Dakar's older sister, Jakarta, was adamant about staying behind. Now Jakarta is all by herself in Kenya...and she's missing.
It's terrible to go through life cringing, sure that at any minute a blow is going to come from somewhere. Dakar doesn't want to worry, but she can't help it. What if Jakarta was in the middle of a Nairobi bombing? What if Mom gets caught by hoodies and forced back into that place when Jakarta isn't even there to help? What if Dad decides to go off to save lives and is seized by some mysterious disease? If Dakar were able to do three really brave things, would that be enough to keep her family together?
Almost everything in Cottonwood, North Dakota, requires bravery from a girl who has grown up in Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Senegal. The possibility of a new friend, navigating a new school, and preparing for snow -- the first Dakar will ever see -- is the least of it. Jakarta is missing ... when she's home and when she's not. And for Jakarta, Dakar will battle the universe.