While well-meaning, this does little to offer any compelling alternative to the overpublished genre of Anglophone narratives...

TROUBLE TOMORROW

Based on true events, a story about the powerful journey of resilience, courage, and hope of young Obulejo, striving to escape war-torn Sudan and heal from the wounds of societal prejudice.

Set during the time of the second Sudanese civil war, the story immediately throws readers into the fracas as Obulejo is roughly woken to the sound of guns. Before the first chapter ends, readers understand that Obulejo and his family are on the run for their lives, fleeing the generic enemy Rebels, a fictional proxy of Sudan’s People’s Revolutionary Army. The prospect of Obulejo’s becoming a child soldier for the Rebels looms large. No matter how dangerous and terrifying the road is ahead, he must find his way out, and that takes him through neighboring Uganda and Kenya. This account shares roots with the story of co-author Enadio, a Ma’di man who spent years in refugee camps before finding sanctuary status in Tasmania. Unfortunately, the novel takes on many of the oft-criticized tropes of narratives of African conflict. Horrendous violence is ever threatening; a benevolent, religious NGO works to help the Sudanese, mired in cycles of tribal violence, learn peaceful ways. This is in no way to discount Enadio’s lived experience, but readers introduced to the long-standing Sudanese conflict solely through this text will not find needed context and complexity.

While well-meaning, this does little to offer any compelling alternative to the overpublished genre of Anglophone narratives of African conflict written from outside the continent. (Historical fiction. 13-17)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-76029-146-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 28

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 2

Lara Jean's romantic entanglements complicate themselves further.

In the wake of the events detailed in To All the Boys I Loved Before (2014), Lara Jean confesses her love for handsome golden boy Peter. This frees the pair to start a romantic relationship with a clean slate, but over the course of the novel it becomes clear that embarking on a relationship that turns an aggressive blind eye to baggage is never a good idea. When a viral video of a steamy love session between Peter and Lara Jean rears its ugly head and a boy from the past enters Lara Jean's life once more, Lara Jean's life gets complicated. Every character from Han’s adored previous novel is back, with new dimensions given to nearly every one of them. Subplots abound, among them two involving Lara Jean's father and Peter's ex-gal Genevieve, but benefitting most from this second look is John Ambrose McClaren, a boy briefly referenced in the former book who is thrust into the spotlight here as Peter's rival for Lara Jean's heart. With all these characters bouncing around, Han occasionally struggles to keep a steady hand on the novel's primary thrust: Lara Jean’s emotional development. Han gets the job done in the end, but this overeventful sequel pales to the original where structure is concerned. The author's greatest success remains her character work, and the book does indeed give everyone a solid arc, narrative be damned.

A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2673-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2015

Did you like this book?

Bound to be popular.

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES

From the Ember in the Ashes series , Vol. 1

A suddenly trendy trope—conflict and romance between members of conquering and enslaved races—enlivened by fantasy elements loosely drawn from Arabic tradition (another trend!).

In an original, well-constructed fantasy world (barring some lazy naming), the Scholars have lived under Martial rule for 500 years, downtrodden and in many cases enslaved. Scholar Laia has spent a lifetime hiding her connection to the Resistance—her parents were its leaders—but when her grandparents are killed and her brother’s captured by Masks, the eerie, silver-faced elite soldiers of the Martial Empire, Laia must go undercover as a slave to the terrifying Commandant of Blackcliff Military Academy, where Martials are trained for battle. Meanwhile, Elias, the Commandant’s not-at-all-beloved son, wants to run away from Blackcliff, until he is named an Aspirant for the throne by the mysterious red-eyed Augurs. Predictably, action, intrigue, bloodshed and some pounding pulses follow; there’s betrayal and a potential love triangle or two as well. Sometimes-lackluster prose and a slight overreliance on certain kinds of sexual violence as a threat only slightly diminish the appeal created by familiar (but not predictable) characters and a truly engaging if not fully fleshed-out fantasy world.

Bound to be popular. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59514-803-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more