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The Road of Bones Hardcover – April 29, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Yuri's grandmother watched the Czar fall; his parents jumped on the revolutionary bandwagon. Yuri has spent his life celebrating the Five Great Leaders, marching in their honor and singing the praises of his country, but things are changing. People live in fear. Five leaders are whittled down to one. Yuri can see what's happening. He's a smart boy, and it's that smart tongue of his that finds him on the run from the police, trying to survive in the endless, cold steppes. After finding a new home, he soon lands in a mining camp in the far north, sentenced to 10 years for another slip of the tongue. Though Yuri faces many trials and hardships, his actions and narrative voice remain at a static level of maturity, feeling too old for the early Yuri and too young for his hardened self. This makes it even more difficult to connect with the free but merciless protagonist readers are introduced to in the final pages. Fine, known for the comedy of Madame Doubtfire (1988; o.p.) and the seriousness of The Tulip Touch (1997, both Little, Brown), does portray a desolation, cold, hunger, and hardship that vividly bring the story to life. This dark look at an alternate Russia under a totalitarian government is in the dystopian vein of Ann Halam's Siberia (Random, 2005) and Pete Hautman's Rash (S & S, 2006). A good segue into discussions of both historical Communist Russia and modern society.—Cara von Wrangel Kinsey, New York Public Library
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