Children of Exile

6 CDs. 7 hrs. Recorded Bks. Jan. 2017. $66.75. ISBN 9781470322021. digital download.
Gr 5–8—Rosi and her younger brother Bobo have only known an ethical, peaceful life in Fredtown. At 12, Rosi is one of the oldest children in the small, neatly laid-out community. When the Fred-mamas and Fred-daddies announce that the children will be returning to their original families, what starts as an exciting airplane adventure quickly turns sour. The caretakers during the transfer are mean, and their "real" parents range from ineffective to cold and cruel. Rosi and Edwy, a boy her own age, quickly discover that life with the Freds did not prepare them for the world they now live in. Each short chapter is exciting, yet the overall story line unfolds rather slowly as Rosi and Edwy attempt to find out what is going on. Haddix's characters look at prejudice and the morality of war, without graphic detail. The cliff-hanger ending points clearly towards a sequel. Narrator Erin Moon distinguishes nicely between Rosi and Edwy, while voicing younger children with a charmingly juvenile tone. Most adults are a variation on a rough or raspy growl.
VERDICT Haddix's "Shadow Children" series has a more compelling story line and is likely to see more checkouts. Consider this one for purchase where Haddix is popular, or if the series develops a following.

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