Guantanamo Boy

Gr 9 Up—Khalid, 15, enjoys playing video games, hanging out with his buddies, and rooting for his favorite soccer team. He has never been to Pakistan (where his father is from) or to Turkey (where his mother is from). In fact, there is not much difference between Khalid and his English friends, except that he is a Muslim and, in the words of Khalid's father, "these are bad times for Muslims." And so begins Khalid's ordeal. On a family trip to Pakistan, he is kidnapped by the CIA and sent to the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison as a suspected terrorist. He endures all levels of torture including extreme psychological abuse to the point that he suffers a mental breakdown. Some information has recently been released regarding the treatment of foreign detainees, and Guantanamo Boy, while fictional, is certainly in keeping with the news stories. It is also an account of children imprisoned at the facility, which, according to Perera, is a common occurrence and one about which many people do not know. The novel touches on very important themes (discrimination against Muslims, violation of rights, use of torture, children prisoners). It is a must-read for teens and adults alike, but readers should be prepared for difficult and painful subject matter.—Jessica McClinton López, King County Library System, Auburn, WA

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