How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

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T has been shot in the street by a white man.  Was he armed?  Was it self-defence?  Why do all the witnesses have a different version of what went down?

Very, very good. Short chapters, easy flow, hard hitting reality of living in a bad neighbourhood. Either running into or away from gangs. The desperation, poverty, hopelessness is tragic but sympathetically written.

You don’t always have a choice whether you join a gang or not. The boys of Peach Street don’t have many choices. It’s either the Stingers or the Kings. The girls don’t have much hope either.

This book should draw in reluctant boys 13+ but is a gripping read for all ages. Strong girl / women characters.

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I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister

by Amélie Sarn translation by  Y. Maudet

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I Love I Hate I loved this book.
Set in the present with French sisters of Algerian Muslim descent. They choose different paths, one western and one traditional. Both paths have difficulty and hardship.
One sister gets left behind. She remembers how much she loved her sister even when she hated her. She would like another chance to protect her sister.
She must live with the consequences of both of their decisions. Her family has moved on but she can’t.
Realistically written. I have a much better understanding of current issues of muslim women living in the west. This fiction took the gloss and some of the mystery of another culture away for me.

Well written with a solid ending, a satisfying read.

Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

Island of a Thousand Mirrors

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Set in Sri Lanka during the civil war. A story of love and loss. A story of culture and difference.
In the South two families of different backgrounds living in the same house. War separates them with one family immigrating to USA. Later their paths cross again in Sri Lanka when the sisters come back to work with refuge children. A lost love is found.
In the North one family living in hardship and fear of the day their children are taken for soldiers. At 13 you are old enough to serve. The parents can’t protect their children from the army or the enemy. One daughter is damaged and then taken by the Tamil Tigers for training. The ultimate soldier becomes a martyr.
A peek inside another world. A world of tragedy and tradition, of love and prejudice.  The story ends with hope and thoughts of the future in a country no longer at war with itself.

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

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You are dying at 16 and you hear about cryogenics freezing your head until they have the technology to attach it to another body sometime in the future. You have been sick for ages and there is no hope. You convince your parents that it would be a good idea to freeze your head. You expect not to come back to life but if you do it would be at least 100 years in the future. You say goodbye to your family, friends and your girlfriend.
Fast forward 5 years, you wake up. It seems to you that no time has passed. Once you adjust to your new body, which is much better than your old one and not sick, you expect to pick up where you left off. But your parents got rid of your stuff, your best friend is in Uni while you have to finish high school AND your girlfriend is engaged to a really nice guy and doesn’t want to see you.
Rather than a returning hero you have a whole new set of problems. You never liked high school and now you are a celebrity, only 2 of the 100 cryogenic recoveries has worked so you are a miracle. You don’t feel like a miracle or a celebrity, you feel sad. You miss your old life.
You go back to school and make a friend. You work towards taking your old life back. Along the road you make some sacrifices, learn some surprising things and find that you can have a new life with remnants of the old and that really is a miracle.