Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Enchanting Review: Borderline

YA Contemporary
Harper Collins
ISBN # 978-0-06-145111-9
298 pages
Hardcover­—Available now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Life isn’t easy for Sami Sabiri. After one incident with a girl, his father puts him in a private school where he’s the only Muslim teen. Then Sami catches his father in a lie and checks out what’s going on. Come to find out others, which include the FBI, are interested too. When the FBI comes and takes his father away, Sami’s family becomes the center of an international terrorist investigation. It’s up to Sami to find the truth before his world unravels.

I really liked Sami’s POV in this story. Sami describes how hard it is being Muslim in a post 9/11 world in a very realistic and believable way. Some ways he shows this is how he finds a secret place to say his prayers at the school. He also compares how different his life is from his non-Muslim friends and how it sometimes makes him feel invisible and left out. The scene where Eddy, the star football player and bully, torments Sami because of his faith struck a chord with me. My own brother-in-law and nephews are Muslim so I’ve heard from them how easy it is for others to quickly judge someone who’s different.

Sami’s friends at first seem indifferent to his plight but later show their true colors once Sami sets out to find the truth. I liked the interaction between the friends that didn’t feel forced at all. Also I liked how one teacher tries to stand up for what’s wrong with racism and to show Sami that he needs to not accept the bullies abuse but to stand true to who he is.

I feel this is a perfect book for a book club selection as it shows a Muslim teen dealing with very real issues in a post 9/11 world. This book addresses such themes as prejudice, racism, and fear of the unknown. Also how easy it is to believe the worse of someone because of their differences.

Allan Stratton is the author of the Printz Honor Book Chanda’s secrets. He’s the winner of other numerous citations. He lives in Toronto with his partner, two cats, and a pond full of fish. Visit him at www.allanstratton.com to find out more on his books and latest projects.

Kim Baccellia
May 2010

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