City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Knowing that these types of people and events actually exist is sobering. Tina's search for her mother's killer while trying to protect her sister, Kiki, and friend Boyboy feels very real; at times it's difficult to remember she's only 16. The problem isn't her truncated childhood, it's that she is a bit of a cipher, never really coming clearly into focus. That somewhat vague quality extends to all the characters and to the setting, a fictitious city in Africa. So, points off for that. But added points for bringing the struggles and trauma suffered by people in Congo and nearby countries.