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Parents' Guide to


By Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Heart-wrenching dystopian tale of brave, undocumented teen.

Sanctuary Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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This gut-punch of a dystopian novel artfully connects readers to our most basic human desires -- safety, freedom, family, love -- to tell a familiar story in a fresh and compelling way. Sanctuary is a cautionary tale about a future we might want to prevent, with heart-wrenching scenes of loss and grief as well as strikingly tender moments of relief and even joy. The writing is clear, urgent, and often beautiful. Characters quickly endear themselves to the reader. Vali, in particular, is unforgettable in her bravery and dogged pursuit of sanctuary, though there are many characters to love. The action moves at a brisk, stay-up-all-night-reading kind of pace.

While the authors' political beliefs may be clear, Sanctuary doesn't have a preachy or too-obvious vibe. All readers can expect to be deeply moved by this powerful book, but representation matters, and teens who are either immigrants or from immigrant families are likely to feel seen and understood as they follow Vali and Ernie on their perilous trip across the country. Parents and caregivers may want to read this book too, so that they can discuss the themes, messages, and real-world connections with their teens. This is a timely, impactful story that readers are sure to remember long after the book is closed.

Book Details

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