February 20, 2011

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

First it was The Book Thief, and now I am the Messinger. Markus Zusak has quickly become my favorite author. I had a very deep, personal connection to Messenger. The writing is extraordinary, but more than that, its message is one that will make you look deep into yourself. "...sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are." It is a message that simply says you can be more, you can make a difference; it doesn't take much, the little things count.
The story centers around 19 year-old Ed Kennedy. A slacker whose life centers around driving a cab, playing cards with his three friends Ritchie, Marv, the love of his life, Audrey, and living with his smelly companion, his dog Doorman. Ed's life takes a turn when he and Marv are caught in a bank robbery, and Ed by happenstance becomes a hero by catching the robber. A few days later, a playing card, the ace of diamonds, appears in his mailbox with three addresses written on it. What is he to do? Who is behind this? Why Ed? Each story, the colorful cast of characters, and your connection to Ed will mesmerize, surprise, humor, and touch you in ways you will not expect. Mature content, violence, and language make this (sadly) a read for mature readers.
Reed Reads Score: 5

February 5, 2011

Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai

Eleven year old Fadi's family is escaping the turmoil of the Taliban in Afghanistan. In the chaos of their escape, Fadi's younger sister, Miriam, is left behind. This nightmare torments each member of the family, as each blames themselves for the loss of Miriam. Emigrating to San Francisco, Fadi's family tries to adjust to life in America, while continuing their search for Miriam. Fadi sees an opportunity, when the grand prize to a photography contest is a trip to India. He will join the photo club at school, win the prize, and find his sister. All does not go smoothly, when the attack on the World Trade Center, creates tension and bullies take revenge on Fadi.
      The story is simply told, providing background information needed to understand the situation. I would have enjoyed more depth to the story, perhaps including Miriam's experience to parallel Fadi's.  It is still a decent read, and I enjoyed the warmth and affection between Fadi, his parents, older sister, and extended family... a testament to the strength of family.

Read Reads Score: 3.5