Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: War Brothers by McKay and LaFrance

Title: War Brothers
Author: Sharon E. McKay and Daniel LaFrance
Year Published: 2013

Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel
Pages: 166
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): Uganda

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Jacob and his friends are sharing stories about their school break, when suddenly the door of their dorm is violently kicked in. Blinded by fear and confusion, the boys are abducted by rebel soldiers--members of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

Beaten, starved, and forced to become child soldiers, the boys wait in vain for rescue. With barely any hope left, they must make a desperate decision that will end in life or death.

Review: I started to create a draft of my end of 2014 post and realized I hadn't read any graphic novels this year. So, I decided to rectify that and read War Brothers. I am so glad I did!

I do love a good graphic novel. I am not really into Manga or comics, but a historical graphic novel with beautiful color illustrations makes me happy every time. This book has both of those elements and I read it in one sitting.

The story follows four teenage boys who are friends at school as they are taken by Josef Kony's LRA. One of the boys' dads is well-connected and tries to arrange a deal to free the boys. This gives them time as "stragglers" instead of soldiers. The story is tense, disturbing, and accurate--the authors interviewed many returning child soldiers in Uganda for the story. I felt like I got a sense of what faces these children when they are abducted and the mindset that the older soldiers have.

The illustrations are beautiful in this book, with vivid colors on glossy paper. Though the images are upsetting at times, they do a great job of conveying the tension, fear, and care of the characters.

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