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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Review: Nine Days (Hiatt)

Title: Nine Days
Author: Hiatt
Genre: Fiction, Adventure, Mystery, Travel

Pages: 241
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Ages: 7th grade and up


The entire time I was reading this book I kept thinking, wow, this would make a good classroom read for our 9th grade social studies classes. Alas, we don't have 9th graders in our building anymore (and I do miss them), but I still think that this page-turner will find an audience!

From the Publisher: 
A contemporary thriller in the vein of James Patterson and Anthony Horowitz set against the bustling backdrop of Hong Kong, Vietnam, and the border of China. This heart-pounding adventure takes place as two teens, an American teenage boy and his friend, a Chinese girl from his Washington, DC-area high school, must find her father who has been kidnapped--and they only have nine days. Although the characters in the novel are fictionalized, they are based on a real Chinese family who were part of the Chinese Democracy Movement and inspired this story.

"Heart-pounding," "action-packed," "fast-paced." These are all terms that have been used to describe this book. At only 241 pages, this adventure/mystery almost begs to be read in one sitting. Ethan and Ti-Anna plan a covert operation to Hong Kong in an attempt to rescue Ti-Anna's kidnapped father from Chinese government agents. The two high schoolers believe they have a shot at this (when no one else can) because, as an American, Ethan is unlikely to be silenced by the Chinese government...and will also be reported missing if something goes wrong.

The compelling plotline drives the story, but there is also some terrific cultural and historical information to be gleaned. The underlying friendship between the two teens is the perfect balance to the adventure. And the mystery of what happened to Ti-Anna's father (and did the teens succeed) will keep readers' attention. After all, Ethan is "writing" this story as a letter to a judge, so we know right from the start that something might not have gone as planned...

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