Let's Go Swimming on Doomsday

464p. Putnam. Jan. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399547614.
Gr 7 Up—Abdi is just 12 years old when his older brother Dahir is kidnapped by Al Shaabab, an infamous Somali militia. Abdi feels guilty knowing that he might be the reason his brother was captured. Three years later, Abdi and his remaining family members are kidnapped by African Union Mission in Somalia. AMISOM is a collaborative effort between U.S. forces and the Somali army. After being brutally beaten by AMISOM soldiers for days, Abdi is brought before Mr. Jones, an American government official. Mr. Jones tells Abdi that Dahir is alive and is now a commander in Al Shaabab's militia. Mr. Jones offers the possibility for a new life for Abdi and his family in exchange for his infiltration of Al Shaabab's army. Abdi agrees, believing that with luck, he might save his family and his brother. Abdi infiltrates Al Shaabab only to learn that Dahir has been brainwashed completely. Abdi's rescue attempt goes awry and he is forced to hideout in a refugee home for girls. The relationship he builds with the girls and his social worker slowly helps Abdi to remember who he is. An intriguing examination of ways familial loyalty and guilt can lead anyone to make desperate choices. Anderson uses the exploration of manipulation and coercion to craft a thought-provoking narrative.
VERDICT An excellent choice for public and school libraries looking for powerful realistic fiction titles.

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