Ami lives with her mother on an island where the sea is as blue as the sky. It’s all she knows and loves, but the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: her island is to be made into a colony for lepers. Taken from her mother and banished across the sea, Ami faces an uncertain future in an orphanage. There she meets a honey-eyed girl named for butterflies, and together they discover a secret that will lead her on an adventure home. Ami must go back to the island of no return, but will she make it in time?
Ami lives on a beautiful island but when an outsider comes to change the rules, she realises that the rest of the world doesn't see her home as beautiful, they see it as dangerous. Because lepers live there, and more are being moved there. Set in the Philippines in the early 20th century, Ami's life is uprooted by the government's new rules that she and other kids that don't suffer from leprosy are to be moved to another island, to an orphanage.
Just as beautifully written as The Girl of Ink and Stars, it was so incredibly sad, both how they were treated and the individual stories of Ami and her mother, and others like them. When Ami is taken across the sea, she vows to return but turns out that's harder than is seems when Mr Zamora is on the warpath. He was an awful character, so fearful and rude of those who suffered. Ami is quick to realise something is wrong with him is a very different way than the physical, and that is why I adored her. She desperately wanted to go home but even as a twelve year old, she was blind to the prejudice and feelings of others.
This story can be summarised as short and sweet, although mildly heartbreaking as well. It's such a unique topic to explore but a very important one, as the scientific breakthroughs and the development of medicine impacted the modern world but the treatment of those people, seeing them as individuals with families and homes, isn't something we often consider. I adored this story, Ami was so incredibly brave and I can't believe Hargrave packed so much into 200 pages!
Published 4th May 2017 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.