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Thirteen-year-old Kat can think of dozens of good reasons not to go on a boring family vacation to hot, grungy Mexico. Number one: missing her friend Fiona’s mini-camp. If she’s not there, she’ll begin eighth grade as a social reject.
And it looks like she’s the odd girl out on vacation, too. When Kat’s parents arrange for her and her younger sister, Barb, to go on a teen adventure tour, Barb makes more friends than she does. The only person who will talk to Kat is Nando, a young Mayan guide (who happens to be quite a cutie). Each day as they travel to different Mayan ruins, Nando tells Kat and Barb another installment in the original legend of Muluc, a girl who lived in the time of the Ancient Maya. The dangerous, dramatic world in which Muluc lives is as full of rivalry, betrayal, jealousy, and sacrifice as Kat’s world at school. And as she makes new friends and discovers new treasures in Mexico, Kat begins to wonder: Is she willing to keep sacrificing her self in exchange for popularity?
“Kat’s snarky comments about her family and fellow tourists . . . are funny . . . This story-within-a-story of young Mulac’s capture and escape from slavery takes up a good part of the novel. It’s an effective device, adding depth to the plot and leading to the readers’ understanding of how Kat’s growth and insights come about.” –Booklist