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Set in Zimbabwe, Rutendo Tavengerwei’s unforgettable novel offers a beautiful and honest look at adolescence, friendship, and the capacity for courage.
For fifteen-year-old Shamiso, hope is nothing but a leap into darkness. Grief-stricken and confused after her father’s mysterious death in a car crash, Shamiso moves with her mother from England to Zimbabwe in order to pick up the pieces—returning to an extended family and a world she hardly remembers. For Tanyaradzwa, a classmate whose life has been turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis, hope is the only reason to keep fighting.
As an unexpected friendship blossoms between them and the two girls navigate the increasingly uncertain political situation in Zimbabwe, Tanyaradzwa helps Shamiso confront her fear of loss. In opening herself to someone with a potentially fatal illness, Shamiso knows that she might be opening herself to more pain. Yet Tanyaradzwa is the only one who gives her the strength to ask the burning question: What really happened to her father?
About the Author
Rutendo Nomsa Tavengerwei grew up in Zimbabwe before moving to South Africa to study law. One of her greatest influences in writing remains her father, who tutored her from the age of nine, teaching her how to write and how to play around with language when telling a story. Rutendo currently works and lives in Geneva, Switzerland. Hope Is Our Only Wing is her debut novel.
A Kirkus Reviews 30 Biggest YA Books of Fall 2019
Praise for Hope Is Our Only Wing
Nominated for the 2019 CILIP Carnegie Medal
“Tavengerwei has a real gift for painting little moments of universal truth . . . Two storylines are a lot for a book this compact to juggle with grace, but Hope Is Our Only Wing manages to entwine them into a moving metaphor.”
“The spare, poetic prose sneakily (and beautifully) covers so much fertile ground: Zimbabwe’s turbulent history, the sharp divisions between classes, political corruption, parental sacrifice—and of course a tough and tender friendship’s ability to hold aloft even the heaviest of hearts.”
—Chandra Prasad, author of Damselfly
“Compassionate, gripping and intelligent, and I loved seeing Zimbabwe through Shamiso’s eyes. I wish there were more books around like this.”
—Emily Barr, bestselling author of The One Memory of Flora Banks
“A beautiful story of a teenage girl that has to navigate life between Zimbabwe and London. It's set against the political climate of Zimbabwe's transition from Rhodesia, but is ultimately a touching story about friendship and what it means to face your everyday fears. I can't recommend it enough!”
“A vivid portrait of a nation and society in flux . . . Questions of justice and reform serve as a powerful backdrop to this personal story of a young woman’s growth into hope and connection. Written in spare and evocative prose, this memorable taste of Zimbabwe will leave readers thirsty for more of its kind.”
“Filled with tales of struggle, sacrifice, corruption, and resilience, the novel showcases a cast of characters whose formidable spirits in the face of life-threatening crises take readers on a roller-coaster ride of emotions via a gripping page-turner. A narrative of courage and optimism in the face of loss, this novel is brilliant storytelling.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“A nuanced view of a very turbulent time in Zimbabwe’s history . . . Tavengerwei creates dynamic characters who will resonate with readers across the globe.”
—School Library Journal
“There is a lot of potential in the realistic portrayal of life so distant from that of most American readers . . . readers may find themselves emotionally drawn to Shamiso and Tanyaradzwa, and the author’s perspective lends striking insight into another culture.”