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Review: Diamond Boy by Michael Williams

Title: Diamond Boy
Author: Michael Williams
Year Published: 2015

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 373
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map): Zimbabwe and South Africa

FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a gift

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): "Diamonds are for everyone." That's what fifteen-year-old Patson Moyo hears when his family arrives in the Marange diamond fields of southern Africa. Soon Patson is working in the mines along with four friends, each of them hoping to find a girazi, a priceless stone that could change their lives forever. But when the government's soldiers come to Marange, Patson's world is shattered.

Set against the backdrop of Zimbabwe's brutal recent history, Diamond Boy is the story of a young man who succumbs to greed but finds his way out through a transformative journey to South Africa in search of his missing sister, in search of freedom, and in search of himself.

Review: I really liked Michael Williams' book Now is the Time for Running so was looking forward to this one. And, I didn't realize it's a "companion" novel to Now is the Time for Running! The author has an explanation at the end that is wonderful: a girl in New Hampshire wrote him a letter requesting another book so he wrote one using a small character from Now is the Time for Running and expanded his story. Way cool.

Although this book has overlap characters with Now is the Time for Running, you can read them independently. This novel is longer and more involved, but both are good.

I like the characters that Michael Williams creates because they are believable and authentic. I can feel with Patson and his family. His friends are people that I want good things for (although that rarely happens). The bad guys are bad. They are callous, sadistic, greedy and hurtful. And they have no remorse. Unfortunately, they are also very real as are the circumstances that they are in (child trafficking, diamond mining, diamond stealing, etc).

The story is an interesting one and I am so glad that the author includes a bit after the end of the story where he explains the situation in Zimbabwe: the diamond mining; the soldiers; and the treatment of children. It makes the story have even more impact when you realize it is based on reality. If you want to learn more about what is happening in Zimbabwe this is a good novel to read!

Challenges this book helps me with:

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