Fourteen-year-old Viola lives in Juba, Sudan with her loving grandmother, strong-willed mother, and adoring little brother. Although danger is constantly present in the form of land mines, armed soldiers, and starvation, Viola loves her family and community, and remembers the days when Juba was a lush paradise. When she is raped by a soldier when walking home one evening, however, her family decides to make the treacherous journey from Sudan to Egypt to the United States. Tragedy occurs along the way, and Viola finds herself torn between the luxuries found in America, and the high cost her family paid to get there. Eventually, Viola discovers that she does not have to be defined by horrors in her past, and that she can live as a strong, proud Sudanese American woman.