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The Queen of Water

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,665 ratings  ·  362 reviews
Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, 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 village...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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Newbery 2012
45th out of 167 books — 675 voters
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Diversity in Young Adult and Middle Grade
84th out of 730 books — 335 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wendy
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...more
Nicole Politi
Born in an impoverished Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia is sold/given by her parents at the tender age of seven to a mestizo couple, light-skinned and rich and of Spanish origin. Being a longa tonta - a stupid Indian, indigenous - Virginia is their servant, taking care of their two children, the housekeeping and cooking.

The Doctorina - a dentist, teacher and the family’s breadwinner - is controlling and abusive to Virginia, treating her like an animal that needs breaking. Her husband, Niño C...more
Tracey
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.
Melody
Apr 17, 2011 Melody rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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
Karlan
Sep 08, 2010 Karlan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
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
Grace
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...more
Sharath
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...more
Kendra
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
Alyssa
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
Barbara
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
Donna
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...more
Ashley
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
Kellee
Reviewed at:
http://www.teachmentortexts.com/2012/...

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...more
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.
Skip
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
Kelly
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...more
Samantha
This is a book that made a very lasting impact on me.

I read it several months ago but just recently having joined goodreads I wanted to write a review on it since it meant so much to me.

The first thing that drew me to this book were its roots in truth. I love memoirs because I think that, while I also love a good novel, the real world has such interesting stories in it that it would be a shame not to share them.

The author of this book is fantastic with imagery.The sentences flow nicely, and wh...more
Balika
This book was amazing (thank you Laura, for sending it to me!). It was such a fascinating look at identity in places with suppressed indigenous populations. The journey this woman took to go from enslaved to free was frank, painful, and inspiring. Most interesting to me was how she really delved into the feelings of fear and shame that keep people in enslaved situations. Most inspiring was her description of re-awakening to her indigenous Quecha culture.
Mmtimes4
Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, 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 village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.
In this poignant novel based on a true story, accl...more
Stefanie
What a great read! I wish this book existed when I was a girl. I picked this book up from the library because I'm planning to visit Ecuador this year and wanted to read something set there. So glad I found this. I hope I can go check out the hotel and some of the other places from the story.
Amy Ryan
A wonderful story about a slave who doesn't realize she is a slave, and her journey back to her family and home. A testament to the power of imagination and intelligence.
Pamela Nelson
“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.”
― María Virginia Farinango, The Queen of Water

I would strongly recommend the “The Queen of Water” written by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango to everyone who is seeking to find the true...more
Maria Martinez
I read this book for the book club that I belong to and at first was not too enthusiastic about the choice but as I got into the story I liked it. Virginia, the protagonist, recounts her life as she goes from living with her Indian parents to being the 'help' of a mestizo family and later on a student who finally grows to be herself and have other opportunities. It is a short book, something that one seldom find, but it tells all that is necessary to know to learn about life in Peru through vari...more
Michael Jenkins
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.
DaughterOfEternity
I started this book not expecting to love it, but it really began to grow on me after that. I think Ms. Resau (along with Maria Virginia Farinango) paints an amazing picture of Ecuador not three decades passed, chock-full of delicious similes and metaphors. Not being a big fan of contemporary cultural novels like this one, I don't usually pick them up, so I don't know how credible it is for me to say I've never read something like this. I felt it was easy to relate to Virginia and it educated as...more
Holly
I haven't been so emotionally moved at the end of a book in a long while, but The Queen of Water broke that trend. I have to say that at first I was rather indifferent to Virginia's story, but as the story progressed I got more and more invested in it. I started to care about Virginia, worrying whether or not she would finally escape from the mestizo family, or if she would be stuck there, suffering under their toxic (and perhaps even abusive) relationship. And once she escaped, I hoped and chee...more
Sue
WOW - powerful story of the self. Great to have a multicultural title that's not about the U.S. yet has relevant themes of class, racism, and struggle.
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202936
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 novel Star in the Forest. 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, France; Oaxaca, Mexico; Tucson; and now, Fort Colli...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.” 13 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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