Sanctuary (Book Review)

19 Sep

I am teaching MYP 3 (Grade 8 ) Language and Literature this year and really enjoying it. In class we are currently reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and our unit is called The Human Condition. I will write more about this book when we are are finished with it. Part of our class includes D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) time. On the eighth day of our eight day cycle, our class also goes to the library to find new books, return books and to do mini-lessons. DEAR time is something I value, and it’s important to me that my students read a wide variety of genres and books outside of the required novels and texts we read in our class. I look forward to sharing book talks and reviews from my students on my blog this year.

During a recent library visit, I picked up Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher, a new book that was purchased by our library. As a Social Studies/History teacher and news junkie, I am very interested in topics around migration, immigration, refugees, identity and poverty. I am teaching MYP 4 (Grade 9) Individuals and Societies this year too! My goal is to read more Young Adult (YA) novels this year, outside of the books selected for our Language and Literature novels and readings. My plan is to share some of these books here, and to encourage others to read them.

This is my short review on GoodReads. I gave it five stars: I LOVED this book! I would recommend it to adults and teens. It touches on some of the biggest stories of our day – immigration, migration, poverty, government infringement on our freedoms, your identity, etc through a beautiful (yet frightening) dystopian thriller that is set in 2032. It feels like a blend of The Road (Cormac McCarthy) and the Netflix series, Black Mirror. I could not put it down. From the jacket cover, it is as “haunting as it is hopeful in envisioning a future where everyone can find sanctuary.”

From Penguin Random House, the publisher (LINK) of Sanctuary, their description, which is featured on the inside of the cover (the dust jacket flap or flap copy): It’s 2032, and in this near-future America, all citizens are chipped and everyone is tracked. It’s almost impossible to survive as an undocumented immigrant, but that’s exactly what sixteen-year-old Vali is doing. She and her family have carved out a stable, happy life in small-town Vermont, but when Vali’s mother’s counterfeit chip starts malfunctioning and the Deportation Forces raid their town, they are forced to flee.

Now on the run, Vali and her family are desperately trying to make it to her tía Luna’s in California, a sanctuary state that is currently being walled off from the rest of the country. But when Vali’s mother is detained before their journey even really begins, Vali must carry on with her younger brother across the country to make it to safety before it’s too late.

Check out this book! I really enjoyed it.

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