Synopses & Reviews
I had always been ugly, as far back as I could remember.
Micay has a deep scar that runs like a river from her right eye to her lip. The boys in her Incan village bully her because of it, and most of the adults ignore her. So she keeps to herself and tries to hide the scar with her long hair, drawing comfort from her family and her faith in the Sun God, Inti. Then a stranger traveling from his jungle homeland to the Sacred Sun City at Machu Picchu gives her a baby macaw, and the path of her life changes. Perhaps she isnt destined to be the Ugly One forever. Vivid storytelling and rich details capture the life and landscape of the Incan Empire as seen through the eyes of a young girl who is an outsider among her own people.
"A superbly written novel, rich in plot and historical detail." School Library Journal, Starred
"The Incan empire's four-century ascendance has inspired plenty of nonfiction and over-the-top fantasy but perplexingly little historical fiction for kids. This recommended title can help fill that void."
"This quiet, deeply moving story reminds readers of the true nature of beauty."
"Micay's intimate narration weaves in Quechua vocabulary and abundant references to Incan folklore, enhancing the novel's vivid sense of time and place."
"A gripping story of a girl who transforms from a cowed outcast into a confident leader, this will find an audience among tweens and teens beginning to question what fate has in store for them."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
As part of a Spanish expedition to the New World, a Jesuit seminarian witnesses the enslavement and exploitation of the Mayas and is seduced by greed and ambition.
At the height of the Incan empire, a girl called the Ugly One because of a disfiguring scar on her face, seeks to have the scar removed and instead finds a life path as a shaman.
About the Author
Scott O'Dell's books have entertained and enlightened millions of readers, all over the world. The master storyteller and writer has shared his thoughts with young adults in books ranging from historical fiction to gothic romances. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1960 Newbery Medal for his first book, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, an award originated and donated by the author to honor distinguished works of historical fiction.