Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1928
A Poignant Story of the Aftermath of War
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Jon Walter’s Close to the Wind details the journey of Malik as he escapes from a war torn home. Split into three sections, this book opens at the start of a civil war in an unnamed country. Malik and his grandfather are fleeing from their home and trying to pay their way on board a ship that will take them to a safer place. Malik’s mother has gone missing after the initial raids, and his grandfather has promised that she will meet them at the docks before they board the ship.

While none of the countries have names, this book reads like a civil war in the not-so-distant past of our world history. The third-person narrative is a little jarring at first between the confusion Malik feels at being displaced from his home and family, and the lack of concrete details such as a set time-period. However, as the story progresses, so does Malik’s voice and I felt more comfortable with the ambiguousness of time and place.

Walter crafts a book that is both sensitive to the topic of war, but also doesn’t shy away from the pain of being a refugee. Malik starts his journey full of questions: Where will they live? When will his mother find them? When can they go home? His grandfather assures Malik that all will be well, and that they’ll be safe once they’re on the boat, but just as Malik doesn’t quite believe his grandfather’s bravado, neither does the reader. I found myself tense through the entire first section of this book, especially when Papa decides to trust two of his old business associates with his only means of security: a diamond set into his tooth. While the men help him extract the tooth in what is easily one of the most graphic scenes in the book, the men also help themselves to the diamond leaving Malik and Papa stranded.

The style of writing, while graphic, isn’t too frightening, making this book a good read for younger children. However, I found that the pacing of the story moved very slowly. While this added to the tension and the waiting game that Malik and Papa play, it also made it difficult for me to fully connect with the story. I enjoyed the third section of this book the most, as it fully demonstrated Malik’s anger and fear at being alone in a new place without his family. He arrives as an orphan, but I was pleasantly surprised at how this book resolved itself. Malik is given over to a woman who was herself a former refugee. She is quirky and patient, and she doesn’t try to take away any of Malik’s newfound independence from his crossing.

This book tackles some big issues, war being the most oppressive throughout, but I walked away from this book with a sense of hope that even in a bad situation, things can get better. He gives Malik an unending sense of curiosity and compassion, all while reminding the reader that some stories don’t have a happy ending in the time of war. Malik’s unrelenting tenacity gives him the spirit to keep asking hard questions, such as the whereabouts of his mother, producing answers that are both heartbreaking and full of hope. This book is a good read for anyone wanting to understand the emotions of life as a refugee - a book full of the tragedies as well as the triumphs of beginning again.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Bohring-home to 453 people, 2,053 alligators, and one...
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal! New from Michael L....
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Fast, funny, frightening—and filled with shocks and surprises. These books...
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons...
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut about first love and second...
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love,...
Golden Crown
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
No longer only a warrior. Not just a queen....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first vampire. The last Nephilim. The end...
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
What is it like to live in 4519 AD...
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This action-packed graphic novel based on the New York...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town...
Stuffed
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome, little one. You have been chosen to join us,...

Latest Member Reviews

Frankly in Love
 
4.7
"I love this book so much. I read it pretty much in one sitting because I couldn't put it down!..."
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
"WHERE THE WORLD ENDS is an intriguing historical fiction, based on a true story. The boys of Hirta are sent..."
Bury Me
 
4.7
"In horror books and movies, we often see dolls as the main source of scares( such as Annabelle or Child's..."
Juliet Takes a Breath
 
4.7
"Juliet Takes a Breath is a coming of age story about a Latina lesbian from the Bronx who travels to..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
5.0
"Fireborne is a fantasy novel set nine years after a bloody uprising against a brutal regime in which the poor..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"i am from Italy hello. Can you help me translate? /rardor"
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
"THE GALACTIC ADVENTURES OF HAZEL - GURECOA takes place in the far future, where our planet is only vaguely recognizable...."
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
"BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER (THE GRAPHIC NOVEL) converts the YA novel by Marie Lu into graphic novel format. The plot remains the..."
Adorkable
 
5.0
"ADORKABLE is a book you can easily predict, but the journey is unbelievably delightful. Sally Spitz is a senior in..."
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
"SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID is quite a heavy YA contemporary. We follow Naima and Dew in alternating sections. Naima..."
Wilder Girls
 
4.7
" THIS WAS INCREDIBLE. This book reads like BUTTER...… Moldy, rotten, disgusting butter,..."
The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
 
4.0
"After killing a man in Paris, Celine is forced to flee to a different country and finds herself in New..."