Friday, July 9, 2010

Borderline by Allan Stratton

It's funny that I just blogged about the increase in Canadian teen novels that start in the States and move into Canada, and then I read another one. Borderline uses crossing the international border very effectively. Fifteen-year-old Sami Sabiri is bullied at his private school in upper New York State because he's the only Muslim there. A gay teacher provide's Sami's sole support at school.

Mr. Sabiri invites Sami to join him on a September business trip to Toronto, promising tickets to both the Blue Jays and the Leafs. At the last minute, Sami's father reneges on his invitation and that's where the web of lies begins. While his father is away, Sami goes on an overnight trip with friends to a cottage in the Thousand Islands (Canadian side). A few days later, FBI agents wake his family in the night and tear their home apart: carpets ripped from the floors; upholstery cut open; books torn apart; light switch plates removed; computers and food containers confiscated. Mr. Sabiri is taken into custody. Suspicion of terrorism means that civil rights are suspended. Sami doesn't know if his father is guilty of anything, but he's determined to learn the truth.

A gripping story that could so easily be true. We need more books like this that engage discussion about fear, prejudice and justice. Grade 7 - up.

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