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Zoe W., Impington Village College

The Bone Sparrow

This was the first book I read as part of the Carnegie shadowing this year and definitely one of the most powerful books I know in teenage fiction. I feel that this should be read and shared as an eye opener to the terrors of immigration; a subject that many people pretend doesn’t exist. The story is based on two very different lives. Subhi has fled his home land and is living in a detention camp, waiting to be granted asylum, to find safety and to be reunited with his father . What feels like worlds away, Jimmie lives on top of the hill, with the camp visible from her bedroom window. Jimmie’s mother died 4 years ago and as the pain fades, she realises that there's still hope, she just has to find it.

Subhi’s sister and mother rarely talk about their past life in Burma, the memories are too painful to think about and their father is still out there somewhere, either dead or alive. As his fiery sister and his ill and unresponsive mother apply themselves to the camp life, Subhi realises more and more just how important it is to never give in.
The memories are far too painful for Jimmie as well - and as she struggles to recollect the past, Jimmie wants more than ever to read her mum's diary, the only thing that wasn’t shoved in the loft to save her father from breaking down into tears. But she can’t read and knows no one who would ever read her mother's diary to her, not yet…

Little did each character know that one day their paths would cross and each of them would discover more about ‘outside’- a long and far away dream, however close it may be. One night a girl appears in the camp and nothing is as it was before.

As their friendship grows, Jimmie and Subhi realise just how much they have in common, but one night Jimmie flashes her torch long and slow, again and again - calling for help.

Never have I read a book that made me stop and think as much as this did- it is all based on real experiences, something I still can't comprehend. It disgusts me that real people are treated like this and for this reason I strongly feel that this story should be read by everyone as the first tale which really tells it as it is. I liked how the characters never escaped the camp as in real circumstances many people call such a place their home for several years, and in some cases forever. This story is effective as it makes the characters seem real and their situation relevant to today's society. I like how the author does not exaggerate anything to comfort the reader, there is no minute of ‘how enlightening and sweet’ this story is simply the knowledge that this is actually happening and in some cases the situation is a whole lot worse. Overall, I felt that it was a good book but unlike many others I have read it didn't seem to have any ‘wow’ factor, something I have experienced in other novels and greatly feel that this one was missing. I do like how the book came to a conclusive finish as many novels have a rushed ending with the general storyline low with a sudden high nearer the end. I do not feel that this was the case with this book however, as the story included snippets from each character's perspective to engage the brain and to stop readers from losing interest.

I recommend this book to everyone, for we all need to stop thinking that the migrant crisis doesn’t affect us, that it isn’t our problem. It is us who shape our world.

Posted on: 19th April 2017 at 04:29 pm

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