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CAPTIVES by Tom Pow Kirkus Star


by Tom Pow

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59643-201-7
Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Complex yet accessible, this intriguing adventure story offers unexpected depth. Vacationing on the island of Santa Clara, Martin and his parents are kidnapped along with another family, caught up in the social unrest caused by a greedy, dictatorial regime. Forced to stay on the move, they hike through the forest and camp in primitive conditions, fearing for their lives. The unusual format adds to the book’s appeal. After a brief prologue, excerpts from Martin’s father’s published diary describe the 28 days of their captivity. Martin’s version, which follows, is more nuanced, more detailed and offers a major twist, including information his father didn’t have or was too blind to see. Finally, the postscript gives a glimpse into the experience of the sole surviving rebel and hints of changes that may come to Santa Clara. Pow tells a fascinating tale, perfectly nails the perspective of a teenager, provides just enough background information about the island to pique readers’ interest and pulls off an unlikely amalgam of politics, adventure, family drama and love story. Unique and rewarding. (Fiction. YA)