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Guantanamo Boy [Kindle Edition]

Anna Perera
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $9.99 What's this?
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Kindle Price: $7.69
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Book Description

Innocent until proven guilty? Not here, you’re not.
 
He's fifteen.
 
He's hasn't done anything wrong.
 
It was supposed to be just a trip to visit his mum's family in Pakistan. But for Khalid Ahmed, it was the beginning of a living nightmare. He's kidnapped—then taken to a place thousands of miles from his home in the UK. A place where torture and terror are the daily routine. A place he may never be allowed to leave …
 
A place called Guantanamo Bay.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“An excellent novel … superb”—The Times
 
“Extremely powerful, and descriptions of torture are genuinely harrowing.”—The Guardian

Review

This powerful and humane book shows that hatred is never an answer, and proves the pointlessness of torture and the danger of thinking of anyone as 'other.' -- Nicolette Jones Sunday Times One of her greatest achievements is to make the frightening monotony of the two years he suffers so full of suspense. -- Kate Kellaway Observer An excellent novel ... superb -- Amanda Craig The Times Extremely powerful, and the descriptions of torture are genuinely harrowing. The Guardian Timely, gritty fiction. Times Review Could it happen? It has happened. That's why teenagers should read this book. Irish Times Rising star: Anna Perera. Her novel highlights the teenagers sent to the camp as it tugs readers into its vivid nightmare journey. The Independent

Product Details

  • File Size: 800 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (September 13, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005KWDBYK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,756 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I really, really wanted to like this book December 31, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After reading its starred review in SLJ and hearing an interview with author Anna Perera on NPR, I was excited about reading this book. I'm a school librarian, and the book circulated a few times before I could get my hands on it, but finally I took it home for the holiday break, brewed a pot of coffee, and curled up to start reading.

I only made it about 30 pages in before I had to start skimming, and then I couldn't even do that. While the story itself was compelling--a 15-year old British citizen finds himself in a secret prison, interrogated, tortured, and even waterboarded--the writing was awful. The present-tense point of view is jarring, and the dialogue is stilted and unrealistic. Too much exposition is revealed through dialog, and it comes off sounding awkward.

I am truly disappointed that such a powerful and potentially life-impacting subject received such mediocre treatment, and that the book's editors did not insist on multiple rewrites before it went to press. I hate to think that what this book teaches--primarily that the systematic detainment and torture of people without cause is wrong and inhumane--will be lost in the delivery.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review From Books & Wine June 30, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Khalid Ahmad is a 15 year old English boy. He watches and plays futbal, works hard at school, has strong family values and an affinity for computer games. He takes a trip to Pakistan with his family, as his father must clean up loose ends after his grandmother dies. Of course, Khalid is in Pakistan in the wake of 9/11 and is picked up for being a terrorist. He is then thrown in jail without a trail, his habeous corpus suspended -- however I don't know if England has habeous corpus. Right-o. Of course, Khalid winds up in Guantanamo, which breaks several geneval laws.

What I notice about Guantanamo Boy is the underlying political statements. It is very critical of the war on terror. It is very critical of Guantanamo Bay. For the most part, I understand that criticism. However, I felt it was just a little too blatant for me. I'm not very comfortable when someone forces their political opinion on me. Yet, I do think what Perera has done in raising awareness about the unfair practices of Guantanamo Bay is fabulous.

One thing which bothered me, it may not bother you, was the graphic descriptions of the torture Khalid underwent. I'm conflicted as I write this because I especially found it disturbing. However, I suppose being edgy is necessary to get the point across about just how bad torture is, and how confessions extracted under duress aren't quite real confessions at all.

Guantanmo Boy was a compelling read, but THE MESSAGE was a little too loud, clear, and blatant for me. I thought this was an average message read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Painful October 26, 2012
By Jenn
Format:Kindle Edition
Despite really wanting to love this novel (I have a soft spot for unique stories), I found myself struggling to finish it. I have no problem with the story itself (it is certainly one that needs to be told) but did struggle with the fact that the writing lacks polish. I really believe that, with a bit of revision, this could be a truly amazing novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richly written and highly intriguing April 10, 2012
By Rachel
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've heard a lot about the detention camp called Gitmo, and I've even read books about soldiers who have worked at places such as Abu Ghraib or Gitmo.The Interrogators: Inside the Secret War Against al QaedaWas one of the books I read. I was very informative, so I was eager to read this one on my Kindle. I bought it and immediately started reading. It's about a fifteen-year old Muslim boy named Khalid Ahmed, living in Great Britain. When he visited Pakistan with his family, he was captured while playing a game late at night. He was first taken to Kandahar, and later Guantanamo. Just like any other boy, he was disoriented because he didn't know where his family was, and saddened because he didn't know if he'd ever find them. He was tortured, and beaten, and sometimes put into isolation cells. Two years later, he was released. The prisons had left him quite traumatic, and throughout the story, when he was in Gitmo, his psychological health was a bit shaky. He learned to adapt to his new life, a life he had not lived in two years. No barbed wire. No guards. No machine guns. No beatings. No waterboarding. A completely different life. I enjoyed every page of this wonderful book, and I thought this book was quite unique. Number one: Unlike most books, which narrate in a past tense, this book narrated present tense. Second, this book was accurate according to what I have read from the men who worked at these places. The writing was nice and descriptive, and I really can find no fault in such a great book. The author did an excellent job of potraying Khalid's feeling vividly and exactly in a human's sense of feeling and emotion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imporant book but not a favorite for me September 25, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Although I read a lot of contemporary YA, I haven't seen much dealing with one of the most pivotal events of my generation. Now I'm older, I've spent nearly half my life with my country waging the War on Terror, and though I'm interested, I've still seen very few books touching on it. I was doubly intrigued when I realized that Perera was British, lending a different perspective to her story.

This book is set about 6 months after 9/11 in England following 15 year old Khalid, an Englishman of Pakistani descent living an ordinary life in a small British town. He goes to school, has a crush on a girl, and lives for soccer. For the Easter holiday, his family travels to Pakistan to help his family. Although he was been warned about the increasing risks of looking Muslim, he has no fear being confident in his British citizenship. Yet soon into his visit, he is kidnapped, held without benefit of trial, and eventually sent to Guantanamo Bay. All told, he is held captive for over two years while his family frantically searches for him and many abuses against human rights are perpetrated against him and the other prisoners.

This is a hard book to rate because while I think it is important and well written, it's not the kind of book I can love. A book I love leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy, has generally made me laugh, and frequently has some swoony romantic scenes. This book is basically the opposite of that but still recommended to all of you out there with the caveat about some intense scenes with violence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
I thought it was a really amazing book because it shows that you should never give up on what you want most.
Published 1 month ago by Hunter Alcaraz
5.0 out of 5 stars America the great?
I lived through 9/11, and it was horrid. Unbelievable. This book brings to light America's shear terror of being attacked. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Janet A. Lawrenz
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Historical Fiction for Teens And Adults
Guantanamo Boy is a terrifyingly realistic novel. Khalid Ahmed, 15, was born in England. He only speaks English, rarely goes to mosque, never prays, never reads the Qur'an and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by PDXbibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend this book.
Powerful book - frightening to think that this could really happen. It speaks to the resiliency of the human spirit.
Published 7 months ago by shopper
1.0 out of 5 stars Change the title to Auschwitz Boy
I bought this book because my son was with medical services in the Bagram prison. He also inspected Kandahar prison. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dixie Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars guantanamo boy
I have always known that conditions at Gitmo bay were bad(my son in law worked there for a while as an electrician in Cuba) but never knew that there were children in that... Read more
Published 8 months ago by grannie
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story
This book was written and informative. However, i felt bad for the main character and his family. This teen went through a lot.
Published 15 months ago by YMK
5.0 out of 5 stars Guantanamo Boy and great read
this book is well worth the read. It will open your eyes to the tragedy at Guantanomo Bay. The main character is a young boy who will easily win your heart.
Published 16 months ago by D. Ashworth
5.0 out of 5 stars A new classic for all
Guantanamo Boy, by Anna Perez, is a stunning novel that is so gripping I had trouble putting it down the first night I was reading it. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ken Kugler
3.0 out of 5 stars Guantanamo
The events of 9/11 caused a lot of different emotions from not only the U.S. but worldwide. The war on terror caused several different countries to react, set new laws and... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Krista Cubicleblindness
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More About the Author

Anna Perera is the author of the critically acclaimed Guantanamo Boy which was shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award and Branford Boase and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. She also gives talks, visits schools, reviews books, writes articles and screenplays and enjoys the local pub quiz every week, even though her team rarely win.

Her second teenage novel: The Glass Collector, is set in Cairo.

US publisher: Albert Whitman
Author US book tour details available from Albert Whitman.

Anna has a grown-up son and lives in London. www.AnnaPerera.com
 Twitter: @AnnaPerera1

Q&A with Anna Perera
Author of Guantanamo Boy


1. What inspired you to write the book?
In 2006 I attended a benefit for Reprieve, the nonprofit organization that fights for the rights of people on Death Row and people held at Guantanamo and in secret prisons around the world. When I learned that children were also being held in Guantanamo, I was so shocked and appalled that I decided to write this novel. The title came to me immediately.

2. How did you do the research for the book?
I read everything I could on the subject, including Enemy Combatant by Moazzam Begg, Bad Men by Clive Stafford Smith, and the play Guantanamo by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo. The film Road to Guantanamo provided useful visual information, as did various newspapers and TV reports.

3. Have you ever met a real boy from Guantanamo?
No. This book is fiction and I didn't want to steal detainees' stories to write it.

4. What have Muslims in the UK thought of the book?
The Muslims I've been in contact with have sent heartfelt thanks. They've expressed appreciation that the book gives a glimpse of an ordinary Muslim teenager's life after 9/11, but have also been overwhelmed to read about the abuse of human rights, extraditions and treatment of detainees in Guantanamo.

5. Is this a suitable story for young adults?
Yes, because young people hunger and thirst for challenging stories that allow them to make sense of the world they live in. Newsworthy statistics and facts don't stay in the mind the way stories do. There is also lightness, humor, love, and forgiveness here, encouraging readers who follow Kahild's extraordinary journey to ask questions about the "war on terror" and the use of torture. Young people are the future, and I hope this story will help them create a fairer, kinder world.

6. How did you prepare yourself emotionally for writing this book?
Whenever something challenging appears in my life, I meditate to achieve clarity. Before I began writing each day, I went to a place of deep inner peace and asked for guidance. This helped me write with detachment.

7. You've published books for younger children in the past, but the idea for Guantanamo Boy first inspired you to write for teens. Are you writing more books for a young adult audience?
Yes--my latest novel, The Glass Collector, was just published in the UK and Australia, and will be released in the US in March. It's set in Cairo, Egypt, and tells the story of a Coptic Christian teenager. I have a third novel in the works as well. I feel completely at home writing YA, and I'll continue to work in this genre long after my reading glasses are fitted with telescopic lenses!

8. Any final thoughts?
Throughout history, rules of division and separation have killed and harmed innocent people without measure--and to what effect? I'm a pacifist, so how was it going to be possible to encourage compassion and the desire for peace by holding up a mirror to the insanity of this prison? All I can say is, I was compelled to try.

Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera
978-0-8075-3077-7 $17.99
Ages 13-up
August 2011
Jacketed Hardcover



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