Review Detail

Middle Grade Fiction 356
beautifully written and evocative novel in verse
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
THE DOOR OF NO RETURN is a powerful and sweeping middle grade read written in verse. Using the lyrical form, the reader is transported to the life of the 11-year-old Kofi, who loves to swim and has a crush on a girl named Ama. He attends school where his teacher insists they learn "The Queen's English" and who has harsh punishments for their mistakes. Kofi does not mind when he has to read Shakespeare though, and it has made an impression on him.

Life changes when a wrestling match at a festival results in a death, and then slave traders arrive to pillage and torture. Kofi's life is suddenly and irrevocably changed in the worst ways as he hopes for survival and watches the people he loves suffer.

What I loved: This is such a poignant and powerful read that really brings Kofi to life amidst the pages. The use of poetry is quite evocative, and different styles are used throughout to convey the changing emotions and state of Kofi's world. It is really a masterful use of the form that has a forceful impact on the reader. It is really stunning and beautiful, and will definitely pull the reader into the story.

The pace is just right, moving faster or slower as needed along with Kofi. There is much that happens in the book, and the reader understands just as much as Kofi, which means that they experience his emotions alongside him. Kofi is an endearing character, and it makes his story all the more compelling. The book handles some really heavy themes in an approachable way that will work well for the intended middle grade audience, but will speak to other age groups as well.

Final verdict: An evocative, potent, and mesmerizing read, THE DOOR OF NO RETURN combines masterful writing with an unforgettable story that is sure to leave readers gasping. Highly recommend picking this one up - for middle grade audiences on up.
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