Hello, my bookish friends! Today I be doing a spoiler free book review of Refugee by Alan Gratz. This was an inspiring and spell-binding book, and it is definitely a recommendation.
- Title: Refugee
- Author: Alan Gratz
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- AR Reading Level: 5.3
Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world. Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a homemade raft, hoping to find safety in America. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe.
All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers – – from drownings to bombing to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.
I had high expectations coming in because multiple people had told me that this was a good book. The synopsis caught my attention, and cover indicated that it was an action-packed and excited book. But who am I to judge a book by its cover?*
*It’s OK because I’m a book-reviewer but don’t tell anyone (wink, wink)\
The pacing was spot-on. Refugee was truly a page-turner. I’m not even kidding! Every single chapter ended with a cliffhanger. From the very first page to the last, this book caught my attention and was engaging. I read this book in a book club, and I found it very difficult not to read ahead. VERY difficult.
Alan Gratz not only did an excellent job executing three stories at one time but also making his characters complex, relatable, and three-dimensional. A lot of books in this same format are choppy and difficult to dive into because the plot is divided between different characters. This is difficult to do, and I applaud him for it. Josef, Isabel, and Mohmoud were brave, resourceful, and intelligent. All of them were struggling, in some way or another, but they never gave up and they kept on fighting.
Refugee was genuinely inspiring. I felt more grateful about the things that I have after I read it, and it made me realize what some people have to go through just to have a place called home.
Plus, the twist at the end of the book is AMAZING.
The only thing that I would have changed about this book was give a little bit more back story about Josef towards the end of the book. It was left as a little bit of a cliffhanger and in my opinion ended too abruptly, and I would have liked to see a little bit more. This, however, is my only critique.
In conclusion, Refugee was an attention grabbing page turner with, unlike many books with such fast pacing, truly inspiring. The characters were likeable and even though I would have changed a little bit of it, the rest was perfect. The way the characters intertwined at the end was genius and made the book 10 times better. I strongly recommend this book, especially if you like Alan Gratz or action-packed novels.
I will definitely read more books by Alan Gratz in the future, given the quality of this one.
Story and plot: 💖💖💖💖💖
Character development: 💖💖💖½
Writing quality: 💖💖💖💖
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Keep on Booking,-Katie K