Thursday, January 4, 2018

Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt - ESSENTIAL

Rosenblatt, Darcey Lost Boys, 279 pgs. Henry Holt and Company, 2017. $16.99. Language: PG (3 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG 13 (war violence, beatings).  

12 year old Reza has recently lost his father in the war in Iran - a war that has been going on for centuries, but in 1982, the rise to power of the Ayatollah has changed things.  His mother is very devout and feels it is God’s will.  Rez’s uncle supplies him with music, even though it is forbidden - everything from Stevie Wonder to Duke Ellington to Mozart.  Rez wants to be a musician more than anything, but since even singing is forbidden, just listening to the secret American music is risky. When his mother discovers, she breaks his tape recorder.  Then, Uncle Habib is killed in a bombing.  When Rez’s best friend Ebi joins the fight - with a promise of paradise and virgins if he is killed - Rez realizes his mother will never be happy until Rez has also enlisted. But the military’s use of these young boys is not what Rez expected, and he soon finds himself badly injured and in a POW camp.  

This war story is an exciting and heartbreaking read.  It was gripping from the very beginning - Rez is in peril more than he is safe. The depictions of the battlefield and the camps are from the perspective of a teenager, so much of the horror is tempered.  He is a devoted friend, a gifted musician and frightened (yet brave) little boy.  This is an essential read for the middle school - although the story took place 30+ years ago, the issues are timely and themes are relevant.  

MS - ESSENTIAL  Lisa Librarian

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