Maleeka gets teased all the time. She gets teased for her mom-made clothes and her too dark skin. She is friends with Charlese who uses her and is not very nice to her. Charlese is a thug who thinks she runs the school. Then Ms. Saunders comes to teach English. Ms. Saunders is not a regular teacher but she really engages the kids even when they are mean to her. Ms. Saunders has a huge birthmark on her face and children are not kind to those who are different. Ms. Saunders becomes Maleeka’s champion and tries to make her see that she is beautiful and has a lot of potential.
This was an enjoyable, quick read. Maleeka is a really interesting character who gains strength and backbone during the course of the book. She starts out so beaten and downtrodden but by the end she is learning to stand up for herself. I also really liked the character of Ms. Saunders. She is big and proud and doesn’t let anything phase her. She truly wants the best for Maleeka. I did think a lot of the other characters were fairly one-dimensional with very few redeeming qualities, but Maleeka and Ms. Saunders make up for that.