April 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Hostage Three

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

woman facing leftLAKE, Nick. Hostage Three. 368p. map. Bloomsbury. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-61963-123-6; ebook $17.99. ISBN 978-1-61963-149-6.
Gr 8 Up
–Amy Fields walks out of her A Level exams required for entrance into the Royal Academy; she is still grieving over her mother’s death and cares little about the future. Her rich father and new stepmother hope that sailing around the world will allow much-needed family bonding, but the idyllic trip ends when Somalian pirates seize their yacht and hold them for ransom. Tension is palpable as the frightened family and crew become pawns in the businesslike negotiations. Although carefully guarded with machine guns, the British teen observes a pecking order among her captors and befriends Farouz, the pirates’ handsome translator. They share memories of personal pain that include Amy’s mother’s suicide, the execution of Farouz’s parents, and the political imprisonment of his brother. Their stories are vivid and poignant, adding layers to a rich characterization, especially details of Somalian culture and mythology. Amy falls in love, understanding Farouz’s vow to use ransom money to free his brother, but is startled back to reality when he agrees to follow orders to shoot her on command. Circumstances become dire when she learns secrets about her father’s business that jeopardize their release, and rival pirates and the navy get involved. The author playfully tells Amy’s account of the rescue the way she hoped it would play out, and then again, as it actually happened. The narrative twist is brilliant, taking readers on an emotional ride to the very last page.–Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY