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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Diamonds in the Shadow

Caroline B. Cooney must have an “in” with the group who picks Sunshine State Books, because she has another one on the list this year.  ;) Her last offering on the list, Code Orange, was a thriller that was frightening because it could happen. Diamonds in the Shadow is no different – a tense and suspenseful book that takes modern day issues and weaves them into the lives of her characters, everyday Americans.

Summary: When the Finch family’s church agrees to sponsor a family of refugees from Africa, they get more than they could imagine. More responsibility; when the apartment for the family falls through, the Finch family takes them into their home. More mystery; the Finch children, Jared and Mopsy, both begin to wonder if this family is who they say they are. More danger; the Amabo family has something in their possession that another refugee wants, and he will do whatever it takes to get it.

The characters in this story, especially Jared and Mopsy, are well developed and it is interesting to watch them change as the story builds. Both learn a great deal about themselves, what it means to be charitable, and how far some people must go in order to simply survive.

The Amabo family and their plight is also great reading, as it shows just how alien things that we take for granted can be to those from other nations. Watching them learn about such common (to us) things as supermarkets and telephones made me, as a reader, really look at my own life and wonder how I would survive if I lost the many conveniences I take for granted.

What makes a family
What is right (moral)?

Age Appropriateness:
Grades 5 and up

Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: none
Nudity/Adult Content: none
Violence: mild

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