Friday, January 16, 2015

The Merit Birds - Kelley Powell

I liked this YA book set in Laos, a setting I don't encounter much in my reading. The use of multiple narrative threads was effective, and helped the reader understand some of the cultural differences between one of the main characters, who is from Canada, and the others, who are native Laotians. The story was not what I expected at all; it went in many different directions than I would have thought but that made it seem more realistic to me, since life is rarely lived in a simple narrative. The author did a nice job of integrating social issues into the story while not sidetracking the overall plot with preachy rhetoric or anything like that. Because I cared about the characters, I cared more about the social issues than I otherwise might have, if that makes sense. I will say that the ending was a bit abrupt, but that's not that big of a deal. Recommended. 

I'm using this book for the Color Coded Reading Challenge, since this year we can use book covers that display color as well as book titles. Obviously, this one will be for "red" - I think it's a striking cover and I like it a lot. I would definitely be drawn to this book at the bookstore or library.

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