Journey or quest novel


Most of the chapters are narrated by Taylor Greer, but Chapters Two and Four, which introduce Lou Ann, are narrated by an anonymous, omniscient narrator

Point of View  

For the most part, the story is told from Taylor’s point of view, and we are privy to her thoughts and feelings. Chapters Two and Four are written from a limited omniscient perspective, from which the narrator explains Lou Ann’s thinking.


Folksy, poetic, humorous


Immediate past


Taylor Greer

Major conflict  

Taylor tries to accept the responsibility of caring for another person and to understand the plight of political refugees

Rising action  

Taylor receives Turtle, grows close to Mattie and Lou Ann, and learns the story of Estevan and Esperanza


Taylor decides to fight to keep Turtle and to risk her own safety for Estevan and Esperanza

Falling Action  

Estevan and Esperanza pretend to be Turtle’s biological parents so that Taylor may adopt the little girl legally; Taylor delivers Estevan and Esperanza to their new home; Taylor and Turtle head back home to Tucson.


The postcard with two Indian women on it, which Taylor sends to her mother, foreshadows Taylor and Turtle’s relationship. The snake in the desert foreshadows the prowler that attacks Turtle. The survival of the bird that is trapped in the house foreshadows Turtle’s recovery.