Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2016 Gr 6–9—When teenager Alix and her new friend, Samir, see a man tossed out of a speeding boat into the churning waters off the coast of their small English island, they leap into the strong current to pull out the battered man. When they realize he's an Iraqi refugee seeking asylum, Alix is hesitant to help him, but Samir—who himself was once a refugee fleeing Iraq—begs Alix to help harbor the stranger. Over the course of the novel, Alix confronts her own perceptions and prejudices, as well as those of her friends, family, and neighbors. Her development from a self-involved child to a broad-thinking and selfless young adult is gradual and realistic, with Alix making plenty of mistakes—and actually learning from them—along the way. The writing is simple and straightforward, and though it won't challenge strong readers, this novel will appeal to younger teens as well as to reluctant readers. VERDICT An engaging, fast-paced story that pushes teens to consider all sides of the immigration issue, this is a great choice for middle school libraries or for struggling readers.—Leighanne Law, Scriber Lake High School, WA - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/15/2016 As the sole caretaker for her helpless mother in their insular island community in England, angry 14-year-old Alix feels abandoned. In school, Alix learns about people who seek asylum in Great Britain, but it barely penetrates her self-absorption. This changes, however, when she witnesses the cruelty of her classmates to Samir, a newcomer to the island and obviously foreign. When Alix and Samir drag a bloodied man out of the sea, realizing that he is an illegal refugee, they hide him in a small hut and try to secretly nurse him back to health. Although the story is firmly from Alix’s point of view, the author introduces issues of global importance. How does a nation balance compassion for innocent refugees against the fear of allowing terrorists easy entry? Through Alix’s eyes, readers get a lesson in the reasons for the surprising Brexit vote, as well as the inflammatory issues surrounding immigration in the U.S. For other viewpoints, try Jamila Gavin’s See No Evil (2009) or Maria E. Andreu’s The Secret Side of Empty (2014). - Copyright 2016 Booklist.