Little Bee, A Novel, by Chris Cleave
When you go to the bookstore online to find out what this novel is about, you will find that Chris Cleave does not want you to know. Of course, he wants you to read the book. He asks that after you do read it, you don't tell anyone else what happens so as not to spoil it. So I will just talk about my experience reading it.
Some of the story takes place in Africa, and the rest in the UK. Little Bee is the title character, and while it is her story, she is not the only character that tugged at my heart. Cleave's characters are hardly one-dimensional--there is not a character whose behavior you will not dislike at some point in the story. They are regular people, with all the faults and foibles of the ones you meet in life.
We are told that the story is very funny (and it is) and that the beach scene in Africa is horrific (and it is) but the real power of this story is the awareness one comes away with, not only at the end, but throughout the reading. It is a story of a loss of innocence, but it might be more the reader's loss, than the characters'.
There are other reviews and blogs about Little Bee that you could read, but they tell too much of the story, I think. Part of the magic is in the not knowing, and I truly enjoyed letting the story unfold as it was meant to, with no preconceived notions on my part, and no expectations.