Walters, Jon Close To The Wind, 290 p. David Fickling Books, 2015. $17.99. Violence: PG(death, not graphic, bullying, children gambling).
10 year old Malik is forced to leave his home and family for safety in a new country. His Grandfather has him pack a small knapsack with his belongings and together they take shelter among the war torn and abandoned buildings waiting for a boat that will take them away from the soldiers. Malik boards the boat with the promise that his grandfather and mother will be in the Purser's office waiting for him, but finds that his grandfather lied, and was only able to purchase one ticket. Malik would be housed with the orphans who would be having families take them in once they arrived at their new home. Malik is determined to find a way to return to his country to find his mother and grandfather.
This book has the makings of a very good story, but there were too many confusing elements. It never mentions what war, what country, and why they were trying to leave. Family dynamics and personal relationships were never fleshed out. I never felt an emotional attachment with any of the characters, and I should have considering the plight this young boy was going through. At first, I thought that they were Jews fleeing the Nazi's, until a friend of Malik's grandfather gave him a ham and cheese sandwich. Nothing was ever said about what had happened to Malik's mother, what country they were fleeing to, or for the matter, how his mother eventually found him. (Sorry, spoiler alert). There were too many fragmented story lines that needed to be tightened up to make it a good read. The story left me feeling unsatisfied. I read this book twice to see if I had missed something. Nope! Would I recommend this book? No, This was an uncorrected Proof, so hopefully when it is released in May of 2015 some of the missing story
elements will be added, because the story has promise.
MS- NO. Reviewer, Tammy