(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Gypsy Rizka is a novel of intelligence triumphing over brute force, the powers of the law, and the restrictions of social conventions. By living outside of town, alone, without family or any adult supervision, Rizka is automatically in defiance of the society of Greater Dunitsa, where people are expected to live by rules and customs. For most of the novel, Rizka is an outsider, slipping into Greater Dunitsa to do her rounds, as well as to con people out of money and food. A generous person, she is quick to share her bounty with others, even giving away her money to help someone solve a problem. This means that Greater Dunitsa is more to her than just a place to exploit; she cares about the people who live there, and she is devoted to making justice when injustice seems to overtake those who can only poorly defend themselves. Perhaps she regards Greater Dunitsa as her family and herself as its shepherd.

(The entire section is 161 words.)