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In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley…
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In the Shadow of the Sun

by Anne Sibley O'Brien

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This is an tense, realistic adventure novel about two siblings trying to escape North Korea.

Mia and her brother Simon have accompanied their father to North Korea to be tourists, but the trip only ends up endangering their lives. Their father often works with organizations to get food to the people of North Korea. Something goes wrong and their father is arrested. Simon has been angry the entire trip while Mia has been absorbing all she can. Now they are on the run together, wanted by the police, and they have information that could send them to a North Korean prison for life.

Running through North Korea and trying to cross the border to China is dangerous. Mia can read most of the signs while Simon survives on gut and instinct. He has always been an athlete and participated in outdoorsy activities, so he takes the lead. Mia begins to find out that she is valuable as well. She’s always been the obedient girl, but she likes being in North Korea because no one stares at her. She’s adopted from South Korea and mainly lives around white people. She stands out in her white town. This trip has been a good opportunity to talk to others like her and blend in because everyone looks similar to her. Throughout their ordeal, Mia discovers her strengths and learns that she also has good knowledge and instincts.

This novel teaches you a lot about North Korea. It begins with something resembling a tourist brochure, which is what is really given to people who visit this country. You’ve heard about the country in the news; this novel seeks to portray how people live there. It’s one of the most closed off countries in the world, so the information is based on people who have defected. North Korea is not a country people would choose as a home. You’ll find the way of life in North Korea and Mia and Simon’s escape an interesting experience. ( )
  acargile | May 10, 2018 |
Twelve-year-old Korean American Mia and her Caucasian older brother, Simon, are on a highly regulated tour of North Korea with their famine relief worker father. At lunch early in their trip, their father gets two black suited visitors, one of whom gives Mia and Simon a gift box, suggesting that they wait until they return to America to open it. However, curiosity causes Mia to open the gift that night, finding nested boxes, the smallest containing a cell phone, which is illegal for foreigners. Scrolling through the phone she happens onto photos of dead and dying prisoners in rehabilitation camps, occurrences denied by the North Korean government. When their father gets arrested the next day, Mia and Simon surmise it relates to the photos and realizing they too might be in danger, they flee. The next eight days are a test of their ability to survive in the remote North Korean countryside, knowing the Korean Secret Police are on their trail.

O’Brien’s debut novel is an adventure story, a la Will Hobbs, with political overtones. Unable to speak the language and with Simon standing out in a crowd, the duo must stay in the forest, making their way to the Chinese border where help may exist. The action, tension and suspense are high. Interspersed are thoughts of several North Koreans they meet along the way. O’Brien includes a brief ‘tour book’ history of North Korea, its customs and government. Additionally, the appendix includes sources of more information on Korea. An interesting book on a rarely discussed subject. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Nov 28, 2017 |
IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN by Anne Sibley O’Brien tells the heart-pounding story of two siblings trying to escape North Korea.
When her father is arrested, Mia and her brother Simon must find their to the border without being captured by North Korean soldiers. Carrying a smart phone with forbidden photographs, the siblings must find food and avoid detection as they make their way across North Korea to the Chinese border. This story of survival will keep even reluctant readers interested.
Librarians will find this compelling adventure story to be timely. Share it with students who enjoy travel, adventure, and mystery stories. Consider using it in a literature circle focusing on current events.
To learn more, go to the website at http://www.intheshadowofthesunbook.com.
Published by Scholastic on June 27, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher. ( )
  eduscapes | Nov 26, 2017 |
It’s been a while since I read a book, YA or adult, that captured me so thoroughly that I didn’t want to stop reading, and that I couldn’t stop thinking about until I finished reading it. IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN was such a book. It follows Korean adoptee Mia Andrews and her brother Simon on a tour gone terribly wrong that devolves into a frightening and thrilling journey in one of the most closed countries on earth, North Korea. The author, who grew up in South Korea, has done thorough homework—the story feels authentic and the details ring with the truth of cultural accuracy and historical veracity. The book has a unique structure that includes a smart introduction to North Korea via a “travel guide,” and short interludes of voices of certain North Korean characters whom the youth encounter, if only briefly, on their harrowing journey. This combination brings a wider perspective on Mia and Simon's dilemma, and gives valuable glimpses of a varied and complex North Korean society and daily life. While the action is a page-turner, Mia’s inner journey of identity and courage, as well as Simon’s, and the shift in their brother-and-sister relationship is equally authentic and compelling. Mirroring today's political dilemma with issues of trust with North Korea, Mia and Simon are constantly confronted with questions about who to trust, and their instincts and choices are a lesson for us all. A terrific book about how a girl’s daunting journey enriches her inner journey, and a story and setting that expands one’s understanding of this country that is often in the news, and about which little is known.
  sungene | Sep 27, 2017 |
It’s been a while since I read a book, YA or adult, that captured me so thoroughly that I didn’t want to stop reading, and that I couldn’t stop thinking about until I finished reading it. IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN was such a book. It follows Korean adoptee Mia Andrews and her brother Simon on a tour gone terribly wrong that devolves into a frightening and thrilling journey in one of the most closed countries on earth, North Korea. The author, who grew up in South Korea, has done thorough homework—the story feels authentic and the details ring with the truth of cultural accuracy and historical veracity. The book has a unique structure that includes a smart introduction to North Korea via a “travel guide,” and short interludes of voices of certain North Korean characters whom the youth encounter, if only briefly, on their harrowing journey. This combination brings a wider perspective on Mia and Simon's dilemma, and gives valuable glimpses of a varied and complex North Korean society and daily life. While the action is a page-turner, Mia’s inner journey of identity and courage, as well as Simon’s, and the shift in their brother-and-sister relationship is equally authentic and compelling. Mirroring today's political dilemma with issues of trust with North Korea, Mia and Simon are constantly confronted with questions about who to trust, and their instincts and choices are a lesson for us all. A terrific book about how a girl’s daunting journey enriches her inner journey, and a story and setting that expands one’s understanding of this country that is often in the news, and about which little is known.
  EugeniaKim | May 15, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545905745, Hardcover)

North Korea is known as the most repressive country on Earth, with a dictatorial leader, a starving population, and harsh punishment for rebellion.

Not the best place for a family vacation.

Yet that's exactly where Mia Andrews finds herself, on a tour with her aid-worker father and fractious older brother, Simon. Mia was adopted from South Korea as a baby, and the trip raises tough questions about where she really belongs. Then her dad is arrested for spying, just as forbidden photographs of North Korean slave-labor camps fall into Mia's hands. The only way to save Dad: get the pictures out of the country. Thus Mia and Simon set off on a harrowing journey to the border, without food, money, or shelter, in a land where anyone who sees them might turn them in, and getting caught could mean prison -- or worse.

An exciting adventure that offers a rare glimpse into a compelling, complicated nation, In the Shadow of the Sun is an unforgettable novel of courage and survival.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 17 Apr 2017 13:22:14 -0400)

Twelve-year-old Mia is on a five-day tour of North Korea with her older brother, Simon, and their father, Mark, an food aide worker, but she is scared because her father keeps sneaking off at night, and terrified that her brother's sullen, rebellious behavior (which has absolutely nothing to do with the Koreans) is going to get them in trouble--and things get much worse when she is pulled into a deadly political game that seeks to expose North Korean atrocities, and her father is arrested.… (more)

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