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Guantanamo Boy Kindle Edition

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Length: 377 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

"Gateway to Fourline"
Don't miss the first book in the epic Fourline Trilogy by Pam Brondos Learn more | More Teen & YA selections

Editorial Reviews


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


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: 2609 KB
  • Print Length: 377 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0807530778
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (September 13, 2011)
  • Publication Date: September 13, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,848 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.
 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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Erin Huckabay on 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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By April VINE VOICE on 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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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 26, 2012
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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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dixie Bell on August 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book because my son was with medical services in the Bagram prison. He also inspected Kandahar prison. The incidents in this book are drawn from the German/Jew prisons. Heads were never shaved at Bagram or Kandahar, detainees were deloused. This book implies that Americans are the terrorists. The real detainees throw feces, urine & semen on the male AND female guards. The guards are not even allowed to raise their voices to retaliate. That would violate the detainees civil rights. My son worked with Red Cross & other non-governmental organizations. They investigated ALL claims & allegations against the guards but not a single claim made by the guards. Minors were NOT treated as told here. Minors were NEVER water boarded. You are selling books by spreading lies and half-truths and slandering a Hell of a lot of good American troops. I might add that our soldiers are having many problems adjusting to life at home.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bookworm1858 VINE VOICE on 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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