by Fred Hiatt
"A fast-paced contemporary thriller in the vein of James Patterson and Anthony Horowitz set against the bustling backdrop of Hong Kong, Vietnam, and the border of China. This heart-pounding adventure takes place as two teens, an American teenage boy and his friend, a Chinese girl from his Washington, DC-area high school, must find her father who has been kidnapped—and they only have nine days. Although the characters in the novel are fictionalized, they are based on a real Chinese family who were part of the Chinese Democracy Movement and inspired this story."
This isn't the kind of book I generally read, and I'm not sure how much it will get checked out in my library, but I hope it does because it deals with some very important issues. We don't hear too much about political activists in China, or about human trafficking. Both of those issues are dealt with in this book in a way that makes it both exciting to read and also very informative. It made me want to educate myself more on the Chinese Cultural Revolution because I don't know much about it at all. Ethan and Ti-Anna are very likable characters (Ethan's constant need for food is endearing),and while some of the situations they get themselves involved in are a little implausible, it adds tension and interest to the story. I love that the author put the "real" Ti-Anna's story in at the end of the book. All in all I'm really glad I read it and I recommend it.
Areas of concern: A teenager leaves home to go around the world on a dangerous quest without informing his parents . He steals his parent's credit card to finance the trip. However, that is dealt with at the end when the boy has to go to court and do community service and pay his parents back.
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 11-16
School Library Journal - Grades 7+