Rose (Viva, Rose!) has a secret about where her brother, Abraham, has gone. (Hint: he lied.) When she tries to deliver a letter to someone who can reach Abraham, she is abducted by guerillas working with Pancho Villa. For the next several days, Rose becomes a reluctant member of the Villistas.
1. Rose learns to ride a horse! This was something she never did before and she loved it - until she fell off.
2. Rose gets a lesson in being less judgmental. The rebels are rough and wild but their cause is just.
3. Rose learns that she is brave, independent and resourceful. YAY!
1. Dorotea, the General's spoiled "niece" (probably his daughter). Rose, who is small for her age, becomes a forced friend to the much younger Dorotea. (Once you get past her headstrong nature, Dorotea is actually kind of sweet.)
2. Pico, Dorotea's cosseted dog. He bites.
3. The food. The rebels eat a lot of javelina, wild pig, which Rose can not eat.
4. The fear and loneliness. Rose's attempts to get back to El Paso usually come to naught.
There is No Ugly, just a little slowness at the take-off.
From Rose's testy relationship with her mother, to little Dorotea, to a Pesach meal that substitutes tortillas for matzoh, to the American reporter, barnstormers, and sharp shooters that attach themselves to the camp, this story is a fun introduction to the Mexican revolution led by Pancho Villa.
The author's note at the end of the book gives some surprising insight to the origins of this novel. Read it.
PS. The set up reminded me of Bandit's Moon by Sid Fleischman. Younger sisters look for older brothers and get abducted/captured by Mexican "outlaws". The time periods and political atmosphere are completely different.