This novel is beautiful. It’s a little confusing at first, but as you continue reading you start to see the connections between the characters and the issues that are important to them. Alofa (whose name translates literally to “love”) is an adolescent girl living in a small community near the capital of Samoa, and as she matures she struggles with her relationship with her family, her awakening sexuality, and her connection to her culture. It’s a story told through vignettes, and artfully so. With each new vignette, the reader gets a deeper sense of Alofa and her community, and how Alofa grows as she develops a deeper understanding of her family history and the events unfolding around her.