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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
History is woven into the story without feeling like a history lesson, yet it will give readers much to think about. Some kids will want to research further based on the sheer amount of interesting and motivating information given.
This book is an adventure tale that gives a good message about endurance and justice. There are parts that look into the mindset behind slavery, and the right and wrong actions of people since it ended.
Positive Role Models
Zac is a terrific, heroic character. He is smart, interesting, and forward-thinking. His foster parents are also great role models. With so many unknown, adult bad guys chasing after Zac, it's nice to see a good example of loyal, caring grownups.
Violence & Scariness
Punches, threats, choking, etc. Murder and fear of murder is described, though it isn't very graphic.
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Some name-calling and a few swear words like "s--t," but nothing excessive.
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Products & Purchases
A few mentions of name-brand items, including a Nokia cell phone.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
References to adults drinking alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this story revolves around slavery and the slave trade. There are some scenes that are intense, sad, and suspenseful, and there's a reasonable amount of danger, but the danger and intrigue are part of any good mystery/adventure novel, which this is.
Is It Any Good?
This is a fantastic adventure story from new author Sarah Mussi. She has created a story rich in detail, intrigue, action, and history. Mussi's way of weaving the African slave trade into an adventure tale is refreshing; others authors have portrayed similar subject matter in a much more maudlin light, which is why this one feels so unique. Readers will love that Zac is a regular, black British teen thrust into a situation well over his head.
The story is rich, meaty, and great for confident readers, though even reluctant readers will enjoy this novel as long as they don't let the initial amount of detail and the book size scare them away. Parents will love the many avenues for discussion and the historical references throughout the work.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.