Book Review | Borderline by Allan Stratton
Author: Allan Stratton
When I found out that I was going to be able to review some books for Harper Collins Canada, I was thrilled to discover Borderline by Allan Stratton was on the list! To say that I am a fan of Allan Stratton is an understatement – in my opinion he is one of the best writers of Canadian Young Adult fiction today! For those aren’t familiar with his work, Stratton has written a number of highly acclaimed novels, including Leslie’s Journal, Chanda’s Secret and Chanda’s War (the last two novels deal with AIDS in Africa and child soldiers in Africa for which he went to Africa to do research before writing these novels). I have also had the opportunity to meet Allan Stratton and hear him speak. Because I have read his other Young Adult novels and have such a high opinion of him as a writer, I was excited to be able to read Borderline and I hoped it would meet my high expectations.
Borderline is the story of a teenage Muslim boy named Mohammed. The son of immigrant parents, he is the only Muslim teen in his community. As the novel opens, Mohammed’s story is told as reflections that connect to the experiences he is having at the present time. He explains how he met his best friends (who call him by a variation of his middle name, Sammy, because his father objects when they call him “Prophet”) and why he has to attend a private school after a run-in with a girl at his old school who wanted to convert him to Christianity. Mohammed’s relationship with his parents is often strained as he tries to abide by their rules and wishes while maintaining his relationship with his friends.
Mohammed suddenly finds himself facing a lot of problems – when his father revokes a planned father-son trip to Toronto, Mohammed and his friends go off on a weekend trip of their own. Add a visit from the local police to problems Mohammed is having at school (a bully with power turns the tables on him in the eyes of the school administration) and he is facing a lockdown at home and the silent treatment from his father. Could things get any worse?
Unfortunately, they can and do as the FBI raids their home and accuses Mohammed’s father of being a terrorist. The leader of potential terrorist cell north of the border, in Toronto, has disappeared and Mohammed’s father is jailed. Unsure of how to face the media, his tormentors at school and his own wavering faith in his father, Mohammed convinces his friends to assist him in a risky plan to get to Toronto and find the man who is the key to all of the answers….
I have to say, I was NOT disappointed in this book on any level! I was amazed, because this novel is so different from Stratton’s previous books. The story has a strong plot that is engaging and it is full of twists and turns. I never would have predicted the ending! Once I started reading Borderline I couldn’t stop – I literally found myself reading it all afternoon and, every time I tried to put it down, I was picking it up again after a few minutes.
This book would be an excellent novel for teens, or anyone who enjoys Young Adult or suspense novels. I would HIGHLY recommend it and I’m thrilled that it not only met my expectations, but exceeded them as well!
Interested in seeing if this book is for you? Browse inside and have a sneak peek!
*I received no monetary compensation for this review. I received a free copy of the book to read and provide an honest review of its contents. The opinions are entirely my own and may not reflect your own opinion upon reading the book.*