Mariska could not be happier. Living an almost fairy-tale life, she is popular, adored by her parents, and is engaged to be married to the most attractive man in her village. But her world is torn when war approaches the peaceful village of Bakshami. Mariska risks everything she has in order to search for her parents who left to negotiate and find peace. With a young warrior as her companion, she travels beyond the safety of her village. Together they search for Mariska's parents and peace for their village in a time of terrible uncertainty. Cynthia Kadohata has been writing since 1982. When she was twenty-five and completely directionless, she took a Greyhound bus trip up the West Coast, and then down through the South and Southwest. She met people she never would have met otherwise. It was during that bus trip, which lasted a month, that she rediscovered in the landscape the magic she'd known as a child. Though she had never considered writing fiction before, the next year she decided to begin. She sent one story out every month, and about forty-eight stories later, the New Yorker took one. She now lives in California. Kadohata's first novel, The Floating World, was a New York Times Notable Book of the year. Her first children's novel, Kita-Kira, won the 2005 Newbery Medal. Kadohata's website is Kira-Kira.us.