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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Summary: In hopes of finding a better life, Gopal and his family move to Mumbai. Gopal's uncle is very successful, and his parents deserve the same. When his father goes missing, Gopal immediately sets out to find a job. When a man approaches him on the street and offers him work in local factory, he jumps at the chance. The factory is a sweatshop, and the five boys are imprisoned. Sweat-boss Scar's paranoia and greed result in long hours, little food, and cruelty all directed at the boys. No one knows where they are or how to find them! Do Gopal and his fellow prisoners have any chance of freedom and returning to their families? This realistic novel is a high-low book for teens, young adults and adults.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 13 and up
Interest Level: 12 and Up
Reading Level: 6.8
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: Once you start, you can't put down this book. The story is gripping and enlightening. The author drops the reader into every corner of Gopal's world - from the emotions to the smells and physical conditions. Boys Without Names is a phenomenal story that every teen - and their parents - should read.
Pros: Boys Without Names draws readers into a world far from their own and awakens all of their senses.
Cons: Absolutely none.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. If you are building a bookshelf that represents children of diverse cultures, this is a must have.
Educational Themes: There are so many elements to this story that are gateways to discussion and/or additional learning - Indian culture and life, child labor, family. This is a phenomenal selection for any book club.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, realistic fiction, conduct of life, India
Date(s) Reviewed: September 2014
Other Reviews: See Critics Reviews' and reader feedback on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.