Maybe focusing on the character of Beka will also help you find a focal point from which to approach your reading. Beka is a talented and energetic though perhaps short-sighted adolescent who would rather get lost in her grandmother's stories of bygone times in Belize than think about the importance of her studies and undertake to accomplish them. As a result, she fails to be elevated to the next level of study in her Catholic school for girls. Beka has a friend, Toycie, whose association with her boyfriend leads her to despair because of an unwanted teen-age pregnancy. It is Toycie's death in a storm that calls Beka to attention and compels her to take her studies seriously and to find her own unique voice with which to speak out in her own person.
Starting with a summary is a good idea. By reading a summary, you get a general idea of the characters and plot. This will reinforce your reading, and everything will make more sense. Here is the enotes summary for this book: