Refugee by Alan Gratz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Refugee tells the story of three young refugees whose struggles to find better lives intertwine and intersect in unexpected and brilliant ways. Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are each on separate journeys in different times and places, but as we follow their individual stories, parallels develop that emphasize the harrowing nature of their quests: they each seek freedom from persecution, and they are each powerless to succeed without the help of others.
The wealth of historical details in each story bring the settings to life. Cuba is vibrant but clouded by oppression. The oceanliner St. Louis is a refuge from Nazis but in many ways, just another kind of prison. Syria is a wasteland, a reality so intensely portrayed that the shattering journey to Germany seems somehow manageable, when in fact it is yet another atrocity heaped upon desperate Syrian shoulders.
Readers will not only learn the truth about these devastating situations, but also the inter-connectedness of humanity. We do not operate separately, but as one. Our individual actions really do matter, and without each other's support, we all suffer.
My heart broke for Isabel, Mahmoud, and Josef. Their stories will stay in my heart.
Informative, heart-breaking, and inspiring. Highly recommended.
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