I think this is an excellent book for teens and adults alike. There is enough intrigue to keep you on the edge of your seat plus it makes you aware of the suffering that the civil wars in Africa have reached. Very well written.
When the apartment that the Amabo family was to stay in falls through - Jared is forced to share his bedroom with Mutto - their teenage son. He is not very happy about this -not happy at all. Mopsy, Jared's younger sister, is overjoyed at the fact that their teenage daughter Alake will be bunking with her.The Amabo family are refugees from Africa. They have received passage to the states and are being sponsered by Jared's church. They will help to give them training and find jobs - but there is trouble from the start. The biggest being that the fifth refugee on the plane doesn't like not being in control. Then Andre Amabo, the father, has had his hands chopped off during the war in Africa - one at the wrist, the other at the elbow. Alake doesn't speak - and doesn't appear to hear either. She has to be prodded to even eat. And what is up with Mattu and the two cardboard boxes that contain the ashes of his grandparents?Jarod doesn't believe in the same God that his parents do, and that the Amabo's seem to also. He feels praying is a waste of time. But while the Amabo's are staying with them, his reality begins to change. He finds that doing things for other people really isn't that much trouble. He discovers that his younger sister isn't so annoying, but has great insight and can even be trusted. And he discovers what secrets the ashes of Mattu's grandparents contain. What he does with that information will decide the fate of both families - but will he make the right choice?This would be a great book for middle schoolers and maybe early high school. It is well written, but seems a little simplistic for older than that. I would not recommend it for younger thatn middle school because of some of the violence that it describes.People are not who or what you expect in this book - and that helped to make it a quite a page turner. I was able to read it in just two sittings.
"Diamonds in the Shadow" is a fantastic YA book from Caroline Cooney that is full of many great elements.First off it has a wonderful storyline with an American family taking in a refugee family from Africa and trying to help them assimilate to life here.Secondly, great characters. The American family with Jared (who does NOT want the family to live with them), Mopsy (who DOES want the family to live with them), the dad (who is having issues at work), the mom (who is loving having a new family to nurture) and then the African family - mom, dad, brother, sister (who is mute and usually unresponsive). Except this new family seems a little odd to Jared, what is the deal?Next, the mystery element... can Jared figure out what is going on with this new family before it is too late? Are they endangering his family? Are they who they say they are? Who is the other African that got off the same plane they did? Why is he looking for them?I really enjoyed following Jared and Mopsy as they try to piece everything together. And the conclusion was fantastic and had me turning pages very quickly to see how everything would be resolved. While I thought it was a very good YA book that I will be letting my daughter read because it is appropriate for her, I also thought most adults would like this book as well because it doesn't really read like a typical YA book. Excellent book!
I loved this Young Adult Fiction laced with suspense! The characters are fun to meet and provoke questions as the pages are turned. Jared, an eye-rolling high school aged teen, seems to be both embarrassed and impressed at the same time by his parents. Will he become responsible enough for driving lessons--ever? Mopsy, his sixth grade sister, with her boundless energy reminds me of a family member I know. Change her name and you could be reading about one of my granddaughters. Will she affect the changes she feels are necessary for Alake's assimilation into this new life? And what is wrong with Alake? Mattu's dignified manners and precise speech reveal a staunch young man who has lived through too much. What could be in the two boxes he carries from Africa to America? Why not revisit the past? Are the refugee parents as emotionally removed as they appear? Who is that fifth refugee, and what are his plans? The grocery store scene impressed me. To hear someone gasp at the display of fruit and vegetables and then hear that person express a goal of working amongst all of this food, reminds me to be thankful for my undeserved heritage. Written in first person narrative, at times the voice shifts as a different character shares his perspective. This could be a bit confusing if it is the first time a reader experiences this style of writing; however, it is top-notch writing. Overall, this is a very good adventure story for teens of either gender.