Author: Anna Perera
Release Date: February 2009
Published By: Puffin
Goodreads Rating: 3.82 stars
Review: Fifteen-year-old Khalid, a Muslim boy from England, has recently started to struggle with his religious identity and the way other people view him, especially since he looks so much older than his age. But assumptions made about him escalate to an all time high when he's abducted during a trip to Pakistan to visit family. He's taken to Guantanamo Bay without charges and once he spends time in that horrific prison, everything changes.
Everyone's heard about Guantanamo Bay and the torture that takes place within it, but it's one thing to hear vague stories about it and quite another to read a book on it. I found GUANTANAMO BOY to be eye-opening to the abundant horrors and instances of mistreatment; it's scary to think of that kind of abuse happening to fellow human beings. That said, I did find that the message about the prison could be rather in-your-face. I'd rather the author shows her beliefs instead of forcing them on me.
I also had a hard time relating to Khalid. Despite the fact that I definitely pitied him for the horrible things he was suffering, as a person, I didn't like him that much. He felt very young and immature, and especially in the beginning before he was brought to the prison, he could irritate me. I feel like this book would have been more powerful if I could feel for the protagonist more.
This novel deals with a topic that's not commonly explored in YA despite its prevalence in the news - torture and terrorism. However, I didn't like how it sometimes came across as too preachy, and Khalid grated on my nerves at times. I know this review has been somewhat negative, and I do want to point out that I've read many positive and glowing reviews for GUANTANAMO BOY. If the summary appeals to you, you should definitely pick it up and give it a try!
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.