A young refugee crosses continents in this timely heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting novel of survivalShif has a happy life unfamiliar with the horrors of his country's regime He is one of the smartest boys in school and feels safe and loved in the home he shares with his mother and little sister right next door to his best friend But the day that soldiers arrive at his door Shif knows that he will never be safe again his only choice is to run Facing both unthinkable cruelty and boundless kindness Shif bravely makes his way towards a future he can barely imagineBased on real experiences and written in spare powerful prose this gripping debut illustrates the realities faced by countless young refugees across the world today Refugee 87 is a story of friendship kindness hardship survival and above all hope


10 thoughts on “Refugee 87

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    This was a book I think I wanted to like than I actually did I think it's a perfect book for its target audience especially in how it tackles some really difficult themes and real world conflicts through the lens of the child main character However in comparison to some of the other very powerful books on the same or similar subjects this book just felt weakly written Shif is a clever and resourceful but timid boy living in an unnamed Middle Eastern country affected by government crackdowns corruption and violence He attends school with his best friend Bini excels in Mathematics and chess and hopes one day to be an engineer or a maths teacher When the threat of compulsory military service arrives too soon the boys have to prepare to leave the country on a terribly unknown journey to somewhere safer But caught in the act of almost leaving Shiff and Bini are instead captured and taken to a prison camp in the desert locked up in a shipping container There they hear the stories of others who have spent many years incarcerated there and understand that they have to escape not only for themselves but so that those voices can be heard tooBoy 87 is a very moving story in a lot of ways Much of its emotional potency definitely comes from its subject matter and the very real reflections that can be drawn from Shif's experiences to the real experiences of many refugees escaping conflicts around the world I expected it to be about the journey and especially the crossing of the Mediterranean sea and quite liked that my expectations there were twisted a little and the story shifted its scope Friendship is really wonderfully explored in this book with Shif's close relationship with his childhood friend Bini as well as another character he makes friends with later The story's well plotted and the pacing was consistent enough to keep me engaged but the ending felt rather sudden and without the lift of hope I think was intended Mostly this book was only three stars for me because the writing was just nothing special There were a few lines that stood out but the majority is simple and quite telling which I think would be good and accessible for reluctant or struggling readers For me it lacked a sense of depth and character that I really love and felt a bit too generic to be memorable