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The Queen of Water

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,990 ratings  ·  407 reviews
Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indigenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta- stupid Indian- by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her villag ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Ember (first published March 8th 2011)
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Oops, I finished already. I could just never tell what was going to happen and I HAD to keep reading.

In some ways this reminds me of certain books that were popular with kids in middle school (and, as I understand it, still are)--slightly graphic, exploitative books about abused children, sometimes memoirs. (Come to think of it, those are popular with adults, too.) I say that ONLY to point out that I think there's a big audience for this book, which I wasn't expecting at all. This book is the op
Apr 17, 2011 Melody rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melody by: Wendy Burton
This is both an extraordinary story and an extraordinarily well-written one. The book tell the true story of Virginia, who is more or less sold into slavery when she's only seven, and what happens to her over the course of the next ten or so years. This is not a long-ago story, either.

Parts of it are very hard to read, especially if one is easily bruised by gratuitous cruelty. Parts of it are like what one imagines surfing on the back of a dolphin would be like, purely joyful. There are a lot of
Based on the true story of a seven year old Indian girl in Ecuador sent to work for a cruel couple as a virtual slave, the novel is emotional and upsetting. Her story is rather unbelievable as she cares for an infant and keeps house for working parents at such a young age. This happens in other parts of the world and is not unique. As she matures, her situation must change. The story is skillfully constructed and not told in a chronological fashion. It is a moving story of a bright girl who ove ...more
I gave this book 4 stars but it really is a young adult book. I think it would be amazing for young girls to read it as teens or preteens, because the way Virginia overcomes all the obstacles put in her way to become educated and then comfortable in her own skin is so inspiring. I loved her inner thoughts and the fact that it is based on her real life makes it all that much more interesting. The issues of race, class, and background are all woven into the story in a setting, Ecuador, that i had ...more
I actually wasn't that excited about reading this book, my friend insisted that I should and I'm really glad I did. It was beautiful, I never knew what was going to happen and that made me always wanting to continue reading it until it was done. And it was beautiful, again. My emotions were totally moved with the stream of pleasant and unpleasant events. I'd just say, for the third time: it was beautiful.
Honestly, I only picked this book up for a challenge. The title, cover, and summary of the story didn't interest me at all. I'm glad I decided to read it though, because this book was awesome. The fact that it's based off of someone's life and she helped write the book made me love it even more. If there ever was a second book about Maria Virginia Farinango, I would read it in a heartbeat.
I'm so conflicted about this book.

There's a lot of good in it, and there's a lot I learned from it. It shows a great deal of the conflicts that Maria Virginia went through, not just external, but internal. While I can't sympathize with all of her struggles, I can definitely sympathize with feeling like you're trapped between two worlds in terms of culture. At least I've always had a chance to chose how I want to identify and how involved I can be in my culture. After all the horrifying abuse Mar
Kathy Hiester
The Queen of Water is a heart wrenching tale by Laura Resau. The main character, Virginia, was born in a large but underprivileged family in an Andean mountain village in Ecuador. Society is divided sharply between the working native Indian people and the governing descendants of Spanish conquerors. At age 7, Virginia is sold to be a servant to a wealthy family. For eight years she endures her enslavement which includes malevolence and thrashings but she is determined to make something better of ...more
Sep 08, 2015 Lucy.W rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Lucy.W by: No one
To begin with, a novel like the Queen of Water was never a book I intended on reading. It was half way through my freshman year, 5 minutes into class when my English teacher Mrs. Trammel began to count down. There was only one reason for this and it was the 10 minutes of silent reading rule. Now, of all days today was the day I decided I could live without a good solid book weighing down my backpack, much to my misfortune. I glanced around the classroom in horror scrabbling for a book, anything ...more
Edging 4 stars.

Books have the capability of opening the door for us into a whole new culture. And by showing it to us through the eyes of a person that belongs in that culture, it offers us a more authentic, engaged look of it. The Queen of Water achieved exactly that, while providing us an intricately compelling storyline. Yet although it excelled with its captivating narrative, it fell a little short with its pace, at times feeling choppy and rushed.

Virginia lives in Ecuador, where two promine
There were not many highlights in this book,with the exception of the main character. I personally did not get any poignant message for it. Even though it was based on a true story,the content of the story was simply forgetable.
Carrie Gelson
Thank you to Kellee and Ricki for recommending this book to me. It is a fictionalized novel based on the actual experiences of Virginia as a young indigenous girl growing up in Ecuador. As it happens in many poor indigenous families, Virginia is basically given away to "work" for a wealthier family. It is a stolen childhood full of many hardships and much cruelty. Virginia's spirit is incredible. I don't want to give story elements away but will say that culture, family and identity are beautifu ...more
"The Queen of Water," by Laura Resau opened my eyes to some of the problems of racism and classism in Latin America.

A novel based on a true story, "The Queen of Water" tells the story of Virginia, a little girl who is taken from her dirt-poor indigena family in mountainous rural Ecuador to be, basically, a slave to a slightly wealthier couple. To Virginia, who is only seven at the time, it's never clear whether she was sold, taken, or given away. She just knows that she is a housekeeper and chil
The book is a cheerful, first-person narrative of how Virginia, an indigenous girl in Ecuador, is taken away as a slave by a middle-class Spanish family, and how she manages to overcome the odds that are stacked completely against her. While the book does talk about her many successes and eventual triumph [spoiler alert!], there is certainly an element of suspense as the reader is constantly left to wonder as to what could happen next. The first-person narrative style of the book makes this effe ...more
Tara Chevrestt
This is somewhat like a fairytale... in the end anyway. The beginning, not so much.

Virginia comes from a very poor Indian family in Ecuador. References to the tv show MacGyver had me thinking her childhood was the 1980s and I was surprised by how very backwards Ecuador was. Virginia doesn't even know her birthday. Her family lives in a dirt hole basically. They work themselves to the bone for the white man who come sand steals their children and make them into slaves.

Virginia is forced to be a
Although teens may not initially be excited to read this story about a culture very different from our own, I thought this was a fantastic book that kept my attention from cover to cover. The story is set in Ecuador and spans the life of main character Virgina from age 7 until her teen years. Virginia is an indigena in her country and as such is expected to be poor and ignorant, which is the case for her parents. When Virginia is 7, she is "sold" (She is narrating the story and never fully under ...more
I just finished an amazing book called the Queen of Water. The Queen of Water is about a young girl named Virginia Farinango who was born in an Andean village in Ecuador. Virginia lives with her poor family in a small mud hut. In her village it is not uncommon to work in fields all day long, even as a child. It is also very common to be called longa tonta (stupid Indian) by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When, at the time, seven-year-old Virginia is taken from h ...more
Head to your trusty thesaurus when you're trying to describe this book because you'll need plenty of adjectives to express just how excellent it is. This story of a seven-year-old indigenous girl whose parents allow her to be hired out as a servant to another family in Ecuador is heart-rending and riveting. Although Virginia has ambitions for the future and has been assured that she can visit her family each month, that never happens. Over time, she loses her language and cultural connections as ...more
Brianne Durrant
"Queen of Water" is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. This book is about the rivalry of two tries, the Metzos and the Indgenias. María was born on a poor farm, where her parents worked for the Metzos, who are rick. They wear expensive clothing, live in apartments, and own a car. Their language is Spanish and most people respect them. The Indgenias on the other hand, are poor farmers who live in mud huts. They spend hours farming, so their skin is cracked. Most indgenias are illit ...more
I have the privilege of knowing both these ladies and I am absolutely thrilled that they had the opportunity to work together and create this amazing novel. For anyone who is interested in how close this is to the truth, Maria says it's 98% truthful. The novelization occurred to make the story more readable and easier for readers to relate to.

Maria Virginia is one of the most remarkable women I've ever met - her story does not end with her achievements in the book. In fact Laura says that one t
I really enjoyed this book. I couldn't put it down and finished it in one afternoon/evening. While Virginia experienced some terrible things, I felt the author shared these experiences truthfully without being too graphic. The book brings up so many things to think about - poverty, literacy, prejudice, resilience, parent/child relationships, cultural identity, self-discovery, etc. I'm really excited to discuss the book at book club. Because this is based on a true story, the author commented in ...more
Reviewed at:

4.5 stars

The Queen of Water reminds me of Sold by Patricia McCormick. It is one of those books that you begin reading and you hope that it takes place a hundred years ago, but then throughout the book, you begin to realize that it only took place a decade or two ago. Virginia is an indigenous girl living with her family in a small village in Ecuador. When she is only about 5 or 6, her parents sell her to a rich mestiizo (Spanish) family with t
Rain Misoa
Apr 23, 2014 Rain Misoa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone interested in the life of indigenous people living in Ecuador.
Recommended to Rain by: Library
Shelves: education, must-own
What a fantastic read! So engaging and empowering! I am so happy I read this!

To read my full review, click here.
Reeeally enjoyed this YA novel. It really captures her struggle being stuck between two worlds. Nothing is black and white in this book, which was refreshing, considering I worried everything would be too simple. It wasn't! The author and star of the story both came to our school this week and it was WONDERFUL meeting them :) Definitely worth a read!
A biographical novelized version of Maria Virginia Farinango's life in an Andean village in Ecuador, the book follows Virginia from age 7 to 16 -- a topsy turvy life from scrapping at her parents hut to being an unpaid household servant for a professor and dentist back to the village and then onto a prestigious school. The book's real theme is the story of ambition and determination as Virginia seeks to throw off her indigenous roots to assimilate in the ruling class of mestizos/Spanish descenda ...more
I really didn't know if I would like this book. I am the type of person who hates racism. But this book was about so much more then that. There were times I just wanted to throw my phone in frustration and anger because no one should ever be treated the way Virginia was. But I was also angry about how she felt about her family and home. It was still one of the best book I have read in a while. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Lance Smith
I think that this book is a good book especially if you're learning about power because it deals a lot with racial power. For example the Doctorita is one of the mestizos, a descendant of a Spanish person. She controls Virginia(the main character) and treats her more like a slave and not a person, only because Virginia is an Indigenas, a descendant of the Aztec people.
This book relates to real life because it has the ideas of racial differences, family problems and identity issues. I think that
Vamos a Leer
The Queen of Water had me hooked from the very beginning. It's the story of Virginia, a young indígena born into an impoverished family in Ecuador. At the age of six, Virginia is sent away to work for a wealthier mestizo family. Both the reader and Virginia come to realize that this is the beginning of Virginia's life as a domestic slave. While domestic slavery (especially of a young child) is difficult enough to stomach, what makes it all the more troubling is that it is a true story set in the ...more
Capers Zimmerman
The plot of this memoir made it very hard for me to stop reading at times, and putting myself into Virginia's shoes in some of the situations she went through made me long to reach into the pages of the book and help her. For example, when the Doctorita discovers Virginia's notebook from under the refridgerator, I really connected with how she felt at that moment. Nobody would want their deepest feelings and personal thoughts shared with others, especially someone like the Doctorita, who isn't u ...more
From School Library Journal 6/1/2011

Gr 9 Up—Based on a true story, and told from the protagonist's point of view, The Queen of Water follows a seven-year-old indígena who was taken from her family in the rural Ecuadoran Andes mountains to be a servant in an urban home. Confused, afraid, and alone, Virginia accepts her captors as parents and loves their children. The prejudice of these mestizos, or middle-class natives, speeds the girl's assimilation, though it comes with a price: an inferiority
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I'm the author of the young adult novels The Queen of Water, Red Glass, What the Moon Saw, The Indigo Notebook, The Ruby Notebook , The Jade Notebook, and the middle-grade novels Star in the Forest and The Lightning Queen, (coming Oct. 27, 2015). I grew up in Maryland, then moved around for ten years (as student, ESL teacher, and anthropologist), making my home in New Orleans; Aix-en-Provence, Fra ...more
More about Laura Resau...
Red Glass The Indigo Notebook (Notebook, #1) What the Moon Saw Star in the Forest The Ruby Notebook (Notebook, #2)

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“And I feel like the Queen of Water. I feel like water that transforms from a flowing river to a tranquil lake to a powerful waterfall to a freshwater spring to a meandering creek to a salty sea to raindrops gentle on your face to hard, stinging hail to frost on a mountaintop, and back to a river again.” 17 likes
“I see that if you try to fit someone in a box, she might slip through the seams like water and become her own river.” 9 likes
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