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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*A Time of Miracles* by Anne-Laure Bondoux, translated by Y. Maudet- young adult book review
Also by Anne-Laure Bondoux:

Life as It Comes
A Time of Miracles
by Anne-Laure Bondoux, translated by Y. Maudet
Ages 12-15 192 pages Delacorte November 2010 Hardcover    

A truly original story told in an unforgettable voice, A Time of Miracles is the story of a young boy and his guardian, who are desperately struggling to escape the war-torn Republic of Georgia.

Set in the early 1990s, the story begins in a poor ghetto known as the Complex. Demonstrating incredible hope for the future, Gloria tells her son, Koumail, about how he came to live with her near the Caucasus Mountains. A train derailed next to their family farm, and Gloria rescued the boy from his dead motherís arms, vowing to return him to his home country of France.

His true name is Blaise Fortune, and with the knowledge that he is truly a French citizen, the boy never doubts that he will eventually reach his homeland. With the motherís altered passports in hand, Gloria struggles against overwhelming circumstances to travel from one makeshift community of refugees to the next, eventually hitching a ride with a truck driver to enter France.

Koumail reaches his destination an orphan, but Gloria is nowhere to be found. He grows up under the protection of the French government, receives an education, falls in love with another refugee and, when he reaches adulthood, seeks out his real mother.

The story he learns about the truth of his family is wrapped in the violence during the fall of the Soviet Union, and is grounded in the love of his mother and the extraordinary, dangerous means she found to keep him save. It is these stories which proved essential to his survival, evidence that a hope is a fundamental component of endurance.

Translated from the French, the story is told from Blaiseís point of view which matures as the years go by. Bondoux utilizes brilliant images as seen through a childís eyes, a protected point of view within extreme poverty and violence. Right and wrong are mixed; deception is used for a greater purpose, and love supersedes all.

Based on the true historical circumstances of politics and civil unrest, this brilliant piece of recent historical fiction is more than worthy of the ALAís 2011 Batchelder Award. Although young American readers will be largely unfamiliar with this period of history, they will nevertheless connect with the feelings of the young boy and, perhaps, stop to consider the individual circumstances of refugees in our own country. Highly Recommended.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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