Karina lives in New York, but her family comes from Haiti where, at least according to this book, severely beating children for the most minor of infractions is a cultural norm. But when her stepfather beats her sister Enid nearly to death, he has gone too far even for her relatives.
Nevertheless, Karina''s mother and relatives insist that she lie to the social workers, police, and court in order to keep her stepfather out of jail. He does pay the bills, after all. Her mother says she won''t let her stepfather beat them any more, but Karina has heard that promise before. But with every adult in her life -- relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers, police, social workers, community center director -- either encouraging her to lie or believing the absurd story she tells, to whom can she turn?