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4.8 out of 5 stars
Now Is the Time for Running
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 7, 2011
Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Willams, follows Deo a young boy who is forced to leave his home in Zimbabwe after his family is killed in political violence. Deo is out playing soccer with his friends and his older mentally challenged brother Innocent when soldiers roll into town. They abuse his brother and then kill everyone in his town while Deo is trying to save his brother. Deo and Innocent escape and through the help of friends and strangers they escape and cross the border into South Africa. They face many dangers during their journey and when they get to South Africa they are faced with Xenophobia violence and poverty.

Now is the Time for Running is a very well written book that does a good job at making the African refugee experience relateable to a middle school audience. The author does not shy away from including the horrors that happen in those situations but also does not overly describe these things in a way that would traumatize a young reader, Deo's experience walk the fine line between being an adventure and being horrible. Deo's love of soccer is something that kids can relate to and the play by plays of the games are written in a way that makes the reader able to picture the game in progress.

Appropriateness: This book contains many adult situations but does so in a way that is appropriate for young readers. There are a few instances of implied rape (a woman is taken away and hurt on the inside by soldiers for example) that include very little detail. The horrifying murders and beatings that take place in the book are described simply and without a lot of detail. The drug addiction faced by the main character is handled in a realistic manner that in no way makes the drug seem positive. This is a book that boys would really enjoy. I would recommend this book to ages 12+.

Review copy received from the publisher.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2011
Imagine witnessing the brutal beatings and murders of your family and village. All you have left is your brother, although older than you he has the mind of a child. With a homemade soccer ball, and his brother's special box, Deo and Innocent head to South Africa in search of peace and the possibility of finding the father they never knew. The trek from Zimbabwe to South Africa is tough including crossing a hazardous river and a dash through a dangerous animal preserve . These scenes are two of the best I have ever read before. Without spoiling, I do want to say Innocent's stash of goodies in his box is brilliant.

This is a difficult yet must-read book encompassing topics such as political cruelty, refugee abuse, drug addiction and a young boy devoted to his mentally disabled brother. Deo is a character that we care deeply about. It is quite violent at times. When given the chance to play soccer and compete in a tournament to get his life on the right track you will be cheering Deo on as I did. A stunning piece of historical fiction. Recommended for those who enjoyed A LONG WALK TO WATER by Linda Sue Park and Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai which are written for younger readers but in a similar vein and fans of historical fiction and adventure. Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Hatchette Book Group via Netgalley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
Now Is The Time For Running is an excellent story about genocide, refugees and xenophobia. But mostly, it is the story of an overwhelmed, innocent young teen trying to save himself and his mentally disabled brother. Deo lived a poor, sheltered, happy life in rural Zimbabwe until the day government soldiers came into the village kidnapped the boys and young men and killed everyone else. Deo and his brother hid from the soldiers, but after the massacre they are homeless orphans. They walk to the capital city to seek help from a family friend and discover that the city is in the middle of a bloody military attack. Once again Deo and his brother are on their own. With the help of some kind strangers, and some carpetbaggers, they make their way to South Africa hoping to find the father they haven't seen in fifteen years, jobs, and a better life. What they find instead are violent gangs that prey on refugees, plantation owners who exploit refugees desperate for work, thousands of refugees from all over Africa living on the streets, and angry native South Africans who resent the refugees coming in and taking their jobs. The one thing Deo has that connects him to all of these people who don't speak his language, or understand his customs, is his amazing soccer talent. Eventually, it is soccer that saves his life. Now Is The Time For Running does not white-wash the genocide of Zimbabwe or violent rebellions in South Africa, but it is not graphically violent either. It does show how Deo's experiences almost destroy him. Author, Michael Williams, based the characters in the novel on young men he met while working at a soup kitchen in Cape Town. He brings their grief, depression and determination to create a better world, to life through Deo and the other characters. His description of the games of The Homeless World Cup are not only exciting but enlightening. Maybe soccer really does explain the world. (homelessworldcup.org) The short length and quick pace of Now Is The Time For Running makes it a great choice for reluctant readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2012
I wasn't sure about this book at first. It doesn't fall into the normal genre's I read. But I've found that sometimes reading outside my box is a good thing, and this was one of those times. Now is the Time for Running tells the story of Deo and Innocent. Two brothers in Southern Africa who are stuck in the middle of turbulent and tragic times for the countries located there.

While Deo is younger than Innocent, he is the one responsible for the two, since his older brother has learning disabilities. It was tragic to watch Deo struggle to save his brother from the world. Both from the violent people in it and the violent events that took Deo and Innocents family.

Williams does and amazing job with both his characters and the world they are in. I've never been to Africa, but it was easy for me to visualize the different settings from the authors words. I also really found myself wanting everything to work out for Deo and Innocent. The struggles they go through to survive and to stay together are crazy. The sad part is that things like this are happening to children all over Africa right now. So throughout the story I turned each page hoping that they would find somewhere to be safe, but knowing that if they were real and not in a book the likelihood of safety would be next to nothing.

I don't want to give away too much about this book. You really need to read it for yourself. It was moving and heartbreaking. At the same time the ending really left some hope that maybe there is some better chance out there in the world. Definitely pick this one up and make sure you give yourself time to really read it. It's one of those books that makes you look at things a little differently.
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on December 4, 2014
My thirteen-year-old daughter and I both loved this book. It is a powerful story of family and identity with a backdrop of the World Cup street soccer tournament in South Africa. Williams brings to light the issues faced by refugees who must navigate difficult waters without help from adults.

Deo and his older brother Innocent flee Zimbabwe when their village is destroyed. Accustomed to caring for his older brother, Deo strives to make difficult decisions to protect himself and keep his brother safe from those who cannot understand the way he thinks and acts. The two brothers manage to cross the border into South Africa, but the country fails to offer them the welcome they were hoping for, or, in fact, any welcome at all. Ultimately, the task of survival is left to the two boys.
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on April 9, 2013
This book breaks your heart, sews it back together and gives you a 20% discount on life. It is one of my favorite books to this day. With drug use and some blood I dont recommend this book for kids under the age of 13. A story of lost family, lost hope, and the human quality to live I would recommend this book o anyone with a heart and anyone looking for action and a dose of hope.
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on January 8, 2014
Few novels exist that are set in Africa that deal with the tough issues of civil war and refugees. This is a great young adult book that opens discussions on a great number of issues that folks around the world deal with every day. Even the simple information about where is Zimbabwe and relationship to South Africa to what are the issues related to refugees and justice are presented in this novel. Personal survival is a struggle that Deo fights every day, but the reader is also pulled in with the added complexity of Innocent and Deo's commitment to his family, particularly his brother. Innocent's disability adds a component to Deo's life that shines a light on his personal development of family commitment. Quick read with plenty of action, and sadly the violence that too many people must suffer.
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on November 27, 2013
The book was amazing. Really inspiring. My 12 year old daughter read this book and she loves it. Definitely worth the money.
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on May 15, 2013
It moved me so much, I could have been in the book. I gasped, cried, and felt emotions through out the book. It is truly an amazing book.
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on July 28, 2014
This was a great book. I loved all the excitement of the soccer games and the emotions of all the hardships Innocent, Deo, and all their friends along the way went through. This book teaches many important lessons like people shouldn't discriminate of where somebody comes from. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good book.
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