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|In the shadow of the sun|
Author: O'Brien, Anne Sibley
Twelve-year-old Mia is on a five-day tour of North Korea with her older brother, Simon, and their father, Mark, a food aid worker, but she is scared because her father keeps sneaking off at night, and terrified that her brother's sullen, rebellious behavior (which has absolutely nothing to do with the Koreans) is going to get them in trouble--and things get much worse when she is pulled into a deadly political game that seeks to expose North Korean atrocities, and her father is arrested.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 189249
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 70912
School Library Journal (06/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/07/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/15/2017 Mia and her brother, Simon, are on the run in North Korea. That’s dangerous enough on its own, but they’re also in possession of a cell phone containing pictures of atrocities in a North Korean labor camp. They’re not sure where it came from, or why their father was taken by North Korean police, but they know they must get out of the country, fast. Relying on their own quick thinking, Mia’s knowledge of Korean language and culture, and a handful of kind strangers, they embark on a harrowing journey from Pyongyang through the mountainous forests to the China border. O’Brien weaves plenty of information about the country through the story, and interspersed sections describing the experiences of some of the North Koreans they meet on their trip add depth. Mia, who was adopted from South Korea by a white American family, offers some thought-provoking insight into the experience of interracial adoption. This fast-paced and tense survivalist thriller, made all the more compelling for its fascinating setting, should find broad appeal. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2017 Gr 4–6—Mia Andrews doesn't know a lot about North Korea. She's heard that it's controlled by a dictator, that there's an ongoing famine, and that people who break laws are sent to harsh labor camps as punishment. It doesn't sound like the best place for a family to visit on vacation, and when Mia's aid worker father takes her and her brother Simon there, she gets more than she bargained for. Her father is arrested for spying, and illegal photographs fall into Mia's possession. Suddenly, Mia and Simon are on the run from soldiers as they try to flee to safety in a country where they do not speak the language and have no access to food, transportation, money, or the Internet. This is an intriguing read, driven by plot and characters. Mia is a likable and smart protagonist who grapples with her identity as a South Korean girl adopted into a white family, while Simon is a typical angry teenager. The tension of their escape, however, is rather lacking. For example, the description of Simon's leg injury should be harrowing but isn't. It is obvious that O'Brien did her research on North Korean life. Peppered throughout are segments written from the points of view of characters the Andrews siblings encounter, offering different perspectives. Overall, the book is well researched, but despite the engaging premise, it's hardly an astounding thriller. VERDICT Suitable for readers on the younger end of the middle grade spectrum or collections where novels set in North Korea are in demand.—Paige Garrison, The Davis Academy, Sandy Springs, GA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.