Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux -- OPTIONAL

Bondoux, Anne-Laure A Time of Miracles, 180 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2009. $17.99. Language: PG (3 swears); Violence: PG-13; Sexual Content: PG-13.

Koumaïl has grown up with the knowledge that he is actually Blaise Fortune, son of a Frenchwoman killed in a train accident when he was a baby. It gives him hope through his life as a 1990s-era wartime refugee in the Republic of Georgia. But during the long journey home, across the Caucasus and into Europe, Koumaïl learns that life is fleeting, survival is painful, and hope may just be another form of lying to oneself.

It was refreshing to read historical fiction from an unusual time and location, although students who haven't studied the history of the region may have difficulty placing themselves in the story and understanding the gravity of many of the plot points. Much of the language felt uneven, either very juvenile or very adult -- perhaps because it was translated from the original French. This, and the fact that the book pairs mature content with a young voice, makes it difficult to assign an age level to. In the end, it will likely appeal more to adults who enjoy coming-of-age stories than to teens and pre-teens.

MS -- OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Caryn

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