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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review From Books & Wine
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...
Published on June 30, 2010 by April

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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I really, really wanted to like this book
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...
Published on December 31, 2011 by Erin Huckabay


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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I really, really wanted to like this book, December 31, 2011
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This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (Hardcover)
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review From Books & Wine, June 30, 2010
By 
April (OTEGO, NY, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (Kindle Edition)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Painful, October 26, 2012
This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richly written and highly intriguing, April 10, 2012
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This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (Kindle Edition)
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
This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, Harrowing but Ultimately Inspirationa, September 16, 2011
By 
Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (Hardcover)
A harrowing account of how a fifteen year old boy gets caught up in George Bush's ill conceived "war on terror". Accused of planning to bomb London after he and some friends collaborated on the creation of a computer game, British school child, Khalid is abducted from Karachi in Pakistan, where he was visiting relatives. His CIA kidnappers will not believe he is 15, nor that he was just passing through a demonstration in Karachi to find his father. They fly him to Kandahar, where he is tortured into signing a confession that is then used to send him to Guantanamo bay.

This is an immensely painful story - mostly because so much of it is based in real events. If anything, the inhumanity is toned down to make it suitable for young adult readers. Khalid, the protagonist, is fictional - but the story is true, and it is a book that will make you angry, depressed, frightened and sad. And yet there is a message of hope there too. Hope that we can answer evil with good, and turn away from the violence that is perpetrated against us.

This book moved me deeply. I knew it would have to - it is one of those subjects that cannot leave you untouched. But depressing as the subject material must inevitably be, and despite the evil it describes - I cannot recommend this book highly enough. There is no glossing over of unhelpful facts here. There is no wallowing in self pity or partisanship. Instead there is a story of evil, injustice, understanding, love and ultimately hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Story, July 16, 2011
By 
Sandra K. Stiles (Sarasota, Florida) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (Hardcover)
This is a powerful story. The author has taken the events of 9/11 and shown us how the events thereafter were just a horrific. Khalid is a fifteen-year-old boy in England. He and his family go to Pakistan to help his aunts find a place to move. His father ventures off to look at a rental and doesn't return. His mother sends Khalid to the same address to look for his father. He doesn't find him. On his way back to his aunt's house he is caught up physically in a demonstration. He manages to make his way back to his aunt's home. Later that evening men in black break into the house and kidnap him. He is accused of being a terrorist and eventually sent to Guantanamo Bay. His family has no idea at first what has happened to him. The book details his abuse and torture while imprisoned. It seems obvious the author of the book did not like the Bush administration. I can overlook that in this book. What I could not overlook was the fact that although this book is fiction, we know that young innocent children and teens were abducted and accused of being terrorists and sent to Guantanamo. We also have knowledge of the humiliation, abuse and torture that took place. The author was not afraid to speak out about these atrocities. If we hide things like these from our children then they will repeat our mistakes. This is a bitter pill to swallow. However, I remember my parents telling me about the Japanese-Americans being sent to interment camps here in the United States. We learned nothing. After 9/11 we looked at people of a different nationality and different religion and decided, or judged them based on those two factors. Although I would not recommend this to my sixth graders because of the graphic nature of it, I would recommend it to seventh grade and up. The book has a timeline of events in the back, several sources to check the information and the most wonderful questions. To me the questions were so thought provoking that they could be used not just for this book but for the topic of terrorism and family and many other things. This has been one of the better books I have read this summer. It is not a light read. It stands at over 300 pages and reads quickly, but the topic itself is heavy. I found myself crying often at the injustice. The author definitely has a way with words to say the least.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review, February 25, 2014
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This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (Kindle Edition)
I thought it was a really amazing book because it shows that you should never give up on what you want most.
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5.0 out of 5 stars America the great?, February 13, 2014
This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (Kindle Edition)
I lived through 9/11, and it was horrid. Unbelievable. This book brings to light America's shear terror of being attacked. If America had to re-do the events post-attack in searching for the attackers, how would we've done it, . . . done it better? I don't know, however, I can say the way in which we sought out our attackers was not the way of honor. The redeeming part for America & England is he got back home. How many didn't? Excellently written. Felt the terror, grief, pain the lad was experiencing. Highly recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Historical Fiction for Teens And Adults, September 7, 2013
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This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (Paperback)
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 dreams of playing professional soccer. When his parents decide to go to Pakistan to visit relatives, Ahmed is upset that he will not be spending his vacation partying with his friends. Khalid's idea of roughing it is going one day without getting on the computer. He is mortified his father wants to take the family to a third world country. Shortly after the family's arrival in Pakistan, Khalid gets lost in the city while looking for his father. He stumbles upon an anti-America rally and is swept up in the mob. A couple of days later, police storm the house and take Khalid to jail. He is interrogated by police and CIA who want names of people from the rally. Because he can't offer any useful information, and no one believes his explanation, Khalid is put on a plane to Afghanistan. He is interrogated and tortured for weeks, and then put on a plane for Guantanamo where he is interrogated and tortured. There is little action in Guantanamo Boy. Khalid is in a cell barely large enough for a sleeping mat for much of the novel. The story focuses on how Khalid changes as a result of his experiences. The physical changes are heartbreaking. The emotional changes are frightening, but inevitable. Guantanamo Boy will generate some very in-depth and heated discussions.
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Guantanamo Boy
Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera
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