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The Wild by Matt Whyman
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The Wild

by Matt Whyman

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Much of this book is set in Kazakhstan in Central Asia. The sixteen-year-old protagonist, Alexi, and his little brother Misha are part of a gang of youths who eke out a living for themselves by salvaging Russian missiles and rockets and selling the parts on the black market. They don't make much and it's very dangerous work; Alexi's gang tangles with a rival gang, with violent consequences.

Misha has been having seizures, which are becoming worse and more frequent. The local doctors suspect a brain tumor, but they can do nothing for him and advise Alexi to take him across the country to Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, for treatment. The boys save up enough money and set off for Almaty, but wind up in Moscow instead. There they encounter further difficulties and things just go downhill from there.

This book is really interesting and shows a whole different way of life to western readers. There are some quite thrilling scenes, and good story progression. I don't think the book was perfect; there was one subplot in particular that seemed pointless and I wondered why it had been included. But on the whole I'd give the book a solid A-minus. It made me want to seek out more of this author's work. ( )
  meggyweg | May 30, 2014 |
A powerful story of two young boys surviving in the harshest conditions near the now disappeared Aral Sea, where gangs make a living by gathering debris from spent rockets.
They set out on a train journey fraught with danger to find a hospital to treat the 6 year old's illness. A harrowing picture of post communist life in lawless regions. ( )
  crgalvin | Mar 2, 2009 |
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In Kazakhan in a vast toxic dust bowl, sixteen-year-old Alexi and his kid brother Misha watch rockets go up from a distant cosmodrome. Their livihood depends on the precious metal boosters that fall back to Earth. But rival wrecking crews are a constant threat, as are Misha's seizures, and Alexi is determined to seek a cure for his brother before time runs out. Taking flight under fire, Alexi crosses borders with Misha to Moscow, hoping for medical help. Suggested level: secondary.… (more)

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