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Monday, March 16, 2009

Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney (Book Review)

Title: Diamonds in the Shadow
Author: Caroline B. Cooney
Publisher: Waterbrook (Random House)
Genre: YA Fiction/Christian
Available: Now
Why did I read? - First Wild Card Tour

First sentence: In Africa, five people got on a plane.

When the apartment that the Amabo family was to stay in falls through - Jared is forced to share his bedroom with Mattu - their teenage son. He is not very happy about this -not happy at all. Mopsy, Jared's younger sister, is overjoyed at the fact that their teenage daughter Alake will be bunking with her.

The Amabo family are refugees from Africa. They have received passage to the states and are being sponsered by Jared's church. They will help to give them training and find jobs - but there is trouble from the start. The biggest being that the fifth refugee on the plane doesn't like not being in control. Then Andre Amabo, the father, has had his hands chopped off during the war in Africa - one at the wrist, the other at the elbow. Alake doesn't speak - and doesn't appear to hear either. She has to be prodded to even eat. And what is up with Mattu and the two cardboard boxes that contain the ashes of his grandparents?

Jarod doesn't believe in the same God that his parents do, and that the Amabo's seem to also. He feels praying is a waste of time. But while the Amabo's are staying with them, his reality begins to change. He finds that doing things for other people really isn't that much trouble. He discovers that his younger sister isn't so annoying, but has great insight and can even be trusted. And he discovers what secrets the ashes of Mattu's grandparents contain. What he does with that information will decide the fate of both families - but will he make the right choice?

This would be a great book for middle schoolers and maybe early high school. It is well written, but seems a little simplistic for older than that. I would not recommend it for younger thatn middle school because of some of the violence that it describes.

People are not who or what you expect in this book - and that helped to make it a quite a page turner. I was able to read it in just two sittings. Please come back tomorrow for the tour and to read the first chapter!


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