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on December 31, 2011
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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VINE VOICEon June 30, 2010
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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on August 18, 2014
Very, Very good. A good picture of mis-identification.
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on January 12, 2013
This book was written and informative. However, i felt bad for the main character and his family. This teen went through a lot.
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on July 22, 2010
I decided to read this book on a friend's recommendation, since there weren't many Amazon reviews to read. As the title of this review says, I found "Guantanamo Boy" to be mediocre at best. The political message was a little too blatant for my taste. Any halfway intelligent person could have implied the message from the general context of the book but the author seemed to find it necessary to make some pointed, personal jabs, which I found to be unnecessary. I agree with the author's message and was still annoyed by it so I can only imagine how hard this book would be for someone to read that disagrees with the author.

This wasn't the worst book I've ever read but it certainly wasn't the best either. The story was interesting enough but I found the author's writing style to be very lazy. This book was apparently aimed at teenage readers, so I can understand why more simplistic language was used but there's no excuse for the amount of sentence fragments in this publication. That's just laziness. Her place descriptions are weak, making different locations seem to blur into one instead of remaining distinct in the reader's mind. Not the most effective writing style when trying to make such a big impression.

I've recently read many favorable reviews of this book so maybe I'm missing something. I just thought this book could have been so much better than it actually was.
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on September 7, 2013
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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on April 10, 2012
Khalid was fifteen when he was kidnapped and taken to Kandahar. He wondered would he remain there forever, would he ever see his family again.
I think the author did an excellent job potraying Khalid's feelings.
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on December 12, 2012
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.
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on September 7, 2013
Powerful book - frightening to think that this could really happen. It speaks to the resiliency of the human spirit.
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on February 25, 2014
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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