A Young Refugee Crosses Continents In This Timely, Heartbreaking, And Ultimately Uplifting Novel Of SurvivalShif Has A Happy Life, Unfamiliar With The Horrors Of His Country S Regime He Is One Of The Smartest Boys In School, And Feels Safe And Loved In The Home He Shares With His Mother And Little Sister, Right Next Door To His Best Friend But The Day That Soldiers Arrive At His Door, Shif Knows That He Will Never Be Safe Again His Only Choice Is To Run Facing Both Unthinkable Cruelty And Boundless Kindness, Shif Bravely Makes His Way Towards A Future He Can Barely ImagineBased On Real Experiences And Written In Spare, Powerful Prose, This Gripping Debut Illustrates The Realities Faced By Countless Young Refugees Across The World Today RefugeeIs A Story Of Friendship, Kindness, Hardship, Survival, And Above All Hope


10 thoughts on “Refugee 87

  1. says:

    As I ve read a number of refugee stories over the last couple years, I m amazed at just how different each one is and just how much I learn about each unique situation that so many face as they attempt to escape terrifying lives in their countries of origin In this story, 14 year old Shif is a bright student who has just recently discovered the truth of his father s disappearance many years ago Now he faces a potentially cruel introduction to the armed services, being called a traitor to his country His mother immediately arranges travel for his quick escape with his best friend, but their packed backs are discovered before they can even leave This story is based on real life experiences and is certain to keep readers on the edge of their seat possibly finishing in just one sitting We need of these stories in our schools and children s teen libraries, everywhere For children s literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo


  2. says:

    This was a book I think I wanted to like than I actually did I think it s a perfect book for its target audience, especially in how it tackles some really difficult themes and real world conflicts through the lens of the child main character However, in comparison to some of the other very powerful books on the same or similar subjects, this book just felt weakly written Shif, is a clever and resourceful, but timid boy, living in an unnamed Middle Eastern country affected by government crackdowns, corruption, and violence He attends school with his best friend Bini, excels in Mathematics and chess, and hopes one day to be an engineer or a maths teacher When the threat of compulsory military service arrives too soon, the boys have to prepare to leave the country on a terribly unknown journey to somewhere safer But caught in the act of almost leaving, Shiff and Bini are instead captured and taken to a prison camp in the desert, locked up in a shipping container There they hear the stories of others who have spent many years incarcerated there, and understand that they have to escape, not only for themselves, but so that those voices can be heard too.Boy 87 is a very moving story in a lot of ways Much of its emotional potency definitely comes from its subject matter and the very real reflections that can be drawn from Shif s experiences to the real experiences of many refugees escaping conflicts around the world I expected it to be about the journey, and especially the crossing of the Mediterranean sea, and quite liked that my expectations there were twisted a little and the story shifted its scope Friendship is really wonderfully explored in this book, with Shif s close relationship with his childhood friend Bini, as well as another character he makes friends with later The story s well plotted, and the pacing was consistent enough to keep me engaged, but the ending felt rather sudden and without the lift of hope I think was intended Mostly, this book was only three stars for me because the writing was just nothing special There were a few lines that stood out, but the majority is simple and quite telling, which I think would be good and accessible for reluctant or struggling readers For me, it lacked a sense of depth and character that I really love, and felt a bit too generic to be memorable.


  3. says:

    Harrowing story of how a young person becomes an immigrantA nameless country, a young man and his story of circumstances that conspire to force him into considering leaving his home and family behind Shif is 14, and along with his best friend Bini, loves school, chess and maths After the disappearance death of his father, with his mother fearing they will be forced into military service and never return, Shif and Bini prepare to flee The story takes some rather dark turns, with the two boys subjected to horrific situations, potentially upsetting for some readers, as they illustrate for us what life can mean in countries that we don t hear much about.Shif makes a moving narrator, especially on the audiobook as him speaking directly to us adds a layer of authenticity and realism His story a perfect way into topics of emigration and refugees The book does not delve into such graphic content that younger readers would be excluded, but I would say a readership of age 10 and above would best be able to cope with the subject matter, and that parents teachers should make themselves aware of the content first, so they are on hand to discuss and answer questions.


  4. says:

    It usually takes me at least a week and a half or two weeks to read a book This one I read in four days Not because it is a shorter book which it is but because it was so good This is the story of Shif and what happens to him when he is separated forcefully from his family He realizes he is much stronger than he thought he was and he also has to grow up faster than he thought he would This is a page turner and even though it is a book written for middle grade kids, I m in my 40 s and loved it I highly recommend this heartbreaking yet uplifting book about not only a young man but the human spirit.


  5. says:

    A simple style with a powerful punch.Shif is a clever young boy He has plans for his future and intends to teach after his military training What he doesn t know is that so much of what he s been told is a cover up.Shif ends up with soldiers coming for him He is taken to a detention centre in the desert, manages to escape and has a traumatic time trying to get back to what he knew.In a straightforward, even simple way we are shown just how easily someone can end up on the wrong side of a regime and it gives some insight into what the story might be behind those seeking refuge in another country.


  6. says:

    This review is also available on my blog, Unsupervised in a Bookstore .This is a short and deceptively simple book, following fourteen year old Shif as he makes the dangerous journey from his home in Africa to find safety in Europe The plot is straightforward, and the first person narration is pared back, childlike, and sincere At first glance, the storytelling feels simple, but there is just enough here to allow the reader to connect with Shif, and to experience the frightening events of the story with him The elegant, spare language gives the reader clear insights into Shif s character, his hopes and dreams for the future, and his ability to survive the trials of the journey Nothing is over dramatised, but the threats and the danger feel real With its simple storytelling and short length, Boy 87 feels like a book for younger children, but the events Shif describes require a YA level of maturity to understand and connect with As an adult I found the story truly frightening, imagining what it would feel like to have to leave your home, escape to another country, and trust people smugglers to take you on the dangerous sea crossing This isn t heroic YA It isn t a story of adventure or triumph But it is an insight into the motivations of the migrants who try again and again to reach safety in Europe Shif s experiences are relatable, haunting, and undoubtedly realistic, and the book would make a great introduction to the subject of migration, majority minority world politics, and the value of human life Boy 87 is an easy but thought provoking read, and an effective introduction to an important contemporary subject Definitely recommended.


  7. says:

    When Shif is forced to flee his home in most likely Eritrea to avoid being sent to prison for the crimes of his father, he is captured by soldiers, escapes, and tries to continue to journey to Europe without his family or friends This story illustrates some horrific things that people do to one another in the name of war and politics and can be hard to read at times The ending is not pat, but does give readers a feel for the realistic upset of one s life The reading level is right for upper MG readers despite the difficult content.


  8. says:

    Gripping novel based on real experiences that illustrates the desperate circumstances that can force one to flee their country and put themselves at the mercy of strangers some kind, some cruel Serious stuff written for middle grades important stuff to understand the constantly growing refugee crises.


  9. says:

    A powerful story I d be happy to share this with a confident, resilient, secure class of Y6 children, it provides opportunities for rich discussions about poverty and injustice and cruelty, but I d urge caution the main character is often in real peril and he experiences the violent loss of people he is close to Read the whole novel before you think about sharing it with a whole class and watch very closely any child who chooses to read it independentlyThe violence and death does happen off screen , there s nothing explicit in the text, but the reader is absolutely aware that people have died I liked the structural device of starting the story with a flash forward that s then repeated verbatim at the end with an extension of that episode which finishes the story in a very satisfying way We always know where the main character is headed and that gives us some security.


  10. says:

    Shif, a young boy in a nameless but presumably Middle Eastern country, flees to avoid conscription It s the start of a long journey to what he hopes will be freedom in England, meeting and losing different people along the way The country is nameless, but the journey echoes those many people, many children, are being forced to take simply to stay alive This is a heartfelt little book it would be great to use in a classroom as the start of a discussion about refugees.Be aware, while the actual violence is restricted to some pushes and shoves and some offscreen shooting, it s clear that some characters die during the book A boat tips over and it s clear some people have drowned.Receiving an ARC did not affect my review in any way.