Release: July 2010
Two teen boys are living on different sides of conflict in modern day Burma; Chiko is a Burmese boy living with his mom, He dreams to be a teacher one day, but because of the situation in Burma he has to be careful by saying that out loud. His father, also a studied man and a doctor, who is in prison for resisting the government. Chiko is secretly in love with his neighbour girl Lei. And then he reacts on an add where teachers are wanted. Not realising this is a trap by the government, and he suddenly is taking away from home, and has lost everything beside the picture in his pocket, one of his father, one of Lei.
In the military camp where he is taken too he meets Tai, another guy who is suddenly caught. They become friends, and the two timid guys try everything to make the best of it and to get out of their situation..
Tu Reh is a Karenni boy, one of the ethnic minorities of Burma, living in a camp close to the Thai border.He has grown up with the knowing that they have to fight the Burmese people, because they got them in the camps. Thu Re wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family's home and bamboo fields.
And then because of circumstances, Chiko and Tu Reh find each other. Tu Reh and his family on firsthand don't know what to do with this enemy soldier they found in the jungle, he is from the Burmese side, so he is an enemy. But Chiko has lost his leg, and can't do anything much. Slowly there becomes more understanding between the two boys and the family around Tu Reh, at a background of a tense situation.
This book has a topic where I haven't seen any book for young readers about, Burma.
Again a huge compliment to author Mitali Perkins on her originality in this book which will be released July 2010.
The story was, as I expected, very original and during the story I learned again something about the political situation in modern-day Burma, which I only heard about in the news from the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi.
I also liked the style of writing, which I think will very appeal to guy readers too.
The first part of the book is in the narrative of Chiko, the second part in the one of Tu Reh. A highly recommended read for every young reader!