Tag: Alan Gratz

Code of Honor

Author: Alan Gratz
Published: August 25, 2015
288 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Live by the code. Die by the code?

Kamran Smith has it all. He’s the star of the football team, dates the most popular girl in school, and can’t wait to enlist in the Army like his big brother, Darius. Although Kamran’s family hails from Iran, Kamran has always felt 100% American. Accepted.

And then everything implodes.

Darius is accused of being a terrorist. Kamran refuses to believe it. But Darius has been filmed making threats against his country, hinting at an upcoming deadly attack. Suddenly, everyone in Kamran’s life turns against him and his family.

Kamran knows it’s up to him to clear his brother’s name. In a race against time, Kamran must piece together a series of clues and codes that will lead him to Darius—and the truth.

But is it a truth Kamran is ready to face? And is he putting his own life at risk?

Kim’s Review:

I really loved Gratz’s other books and I was so excited when Ivan got me Code of Honor for Christmas. I was a little worried when I started reading that it was going to get too political, but it got better very quickly. There were some subtle political jabs that I didn’t appreciate, which is why I gave this book 4 stars. But I can tell that Gratz really appreciates our Armed Forces and Kamran’s love of America was a wonderful thing to read. Patriotism was set up as an admirable thing in a world where love of America is politically incorrect. Kamran became the everyman when talking about stereotyping and unfair views of certain groups of people. Unfortunately, stereotyping is not just an Arab problem, or Muslim problem. And I related to Kamran because of that. I’m a Southerner, born and raised, and of course that make me uneducated and racist.

The story was exciting and original and I couldn’t put the book down! I liked the characters a lot! Micky Hagan was the perfect person to drop into Kamran’s life and kept the book from falling into a lecture about islamophobia. I liked how Gratz brought in the IRA to make the problems universal.

Overall, this is another book that I would put on history teachers’ bookshelves. It’s an interesting look into the inner workings of counter-terrorism and teaches healthy empathy. It also deals with issues facing our soldiers on a daily basis. PTSD, training, discipline, honor, bravery, brotherhood . . . Gratz did a great job of highlighting the greatness of our military men and women and I really loved that! I absolutely recommend this to those looking for an exciting read and to all teenagers.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Prisoner B-3087

Author: Alan Gratz
272 Pages
Published: March 1, 2013

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Survive. At any cost.
10 concentration camps.
10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.
It’s something no one could imagine surviving.
But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.

As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner — his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087. He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later. Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will — and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?

Kim’s Review:

Such a great book!! Though a work of fiction, this book has all the realistic emotions that memoirs like Night and All But My Life elicit. The perfect book for a teenager to read for a look into the mind and heart of a young Holocaust survivor. Written as a simple record of events, Yanek becomes the teenage everyman of the Holocaust. He’s forced to grow up far sooner than any child or teen should. He is faced with death, torture, hatred and an uncertainty about his future, and all that tragedy colors his world view. That kind of major effect on Holocaust survivors, especially the younger ones, is rarely discussed in books. And with Yanek being so young, kids would be able to identify with him in a way that would be difficult in the books written by adult survivors. I would say every teacher from 6th grade and up should have this book in their library. In fact, had I known about this book when I was teaching, it would have been required reading for every single one of my students. 5 stars, easily!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK