Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson

Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. AndersonLet’s Go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson
Also by this author: City of Saints and Theives
Genres: Diverse Books, Reading Diversely, Young Adult

Forced to become a child soldier, a sixteen-year-old Somali refugee must confront his painful past in this haunting, thrilling tale of loss and redemption for fans of A Long Way Gone and What is the What

When Abdi's family is kidnapped, he's forced to do the unthinkable: become a child soldier with the ruthless jihadi group Al Shabaab. In order to save the lives of those he loves, and earn their freedom, Abdi agrees to be embedded as a spy within the militia's ranks and to send dispatches on their plans to the Americans. The jihadists trust Abdi immediately because his older brother, Dahir, is already one of them, protégé to General Idris, aka the Butcher. If Abdi's duplicity is discovered, he will be killed.

For weeks, Abdi trains with them, witnessing atrocity after atrocity, becoming a monster himself, wondering if he's even pretending anymore. He only escapes after he is forced into a suicide bomber's vest, which still leaves him stumps where two of his fingers used to be and his brother near death. Eventually, he finds himself on the streets of Sangui City, Kenya, stealing what he can find to get by, sleeping nights in empty alleyways, wondering what's become of the family that was stolen from him. But everything changes when Abdi's picked up for a petty theft, which sets into motion a chain reaction that forces him to reckon with a past he's been trying to forget.

In this riveting, unflinching tale of sacrifice and hope, critically-acclaimed author Natalie C. Anderson delivers another tour-de-force that will leave readers at the edge of their seats.

Abdi is forced to become a child soldier to save the lives of those he loves. It is a harsh reality, books like this are not easy to read, but I feel they are important for young people to see the lives, the desperation, and the atrocities that take place all over the world that involve children. Many of these stories, although fiction stem from a very real place.  Powerful and impactful, Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday is a novel based on knowledge the author has working with refugees over the last decade. Realistic and horrific, this book deals with a lot of heavy situations, yet, it is beautifully told. What I feel is unique about it is, it is paced like an action movie, at full speed and explosive, you need to pay attention to know what is going on. Told in alternating POV between the past and the present and set in Mogadishu, Somalia, Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday is a book that will play out in your mind long after the last page is read.


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