I absolutely love this book. I don't know if I like it more because it's currently not in print anymore. I have no idea why it's not currently in print anymore, because this book is really good. Once again Yamanka uses pidgin to make her characters come to life. She really uses cultural references to native Hawai'i throughout the book. One of my favorite is the spirit of the animal. The family has a dog named Ka-san and the dog is metaphorically their mother throughout the story. The same characteristics apply to their cat- that Black Cats cure sadness. The father is one of the many victims who was sent to Kalapupu to be isolated from the rest of the world because he has leprosy. The book has a harsh reality to life. The theme centrals around the family unit, but not exactly a "coming-to-age" tale. It deals with the family's grief over the death of the mother and how each character is dealing with the death alongside of a very traumatic sub-plot. It's definitely a "page-turner"