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Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney
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Diamonds in the Shadow (2007)

by Caroline B. Cooney

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Diamonds in the Shadow was very different in the context of the writing. It was harder for me to rate and harder to classify than other books. It's good and I liked it a lot. It had just as much to say about the American characters as it did about the African characters and things going on in Africa. It was imaginative in that respect. The characters were developed in an interesting way in that they each seemed to point out something that the author wanted to say. They weren't caricatures but they were, without a doubt, examples. Some seemed real and some seemed a little overboard but not so much that I didn't hesitate for a while to say that. Perhaps a few of the characters seemed over simplified but then that's the way one sees people when one isn't inside their head. The characters through whose point of view we could see were more complex. Whatever it was it was interesting and I liked it. The story certainly did a good job of saying what I thought the author wanted to say and I decided it was definitely getting four stars. I also just added a couple more of Ms. Cooney's books.

Came back for another comment. I liked the ending too - not the dramatic ending, although I was very glad for that - but the ending that was underneath that. There was plenty of story underneath the story. Now that I think about it, that was my favorite part. ( )
  Yona | May 2, 2013 |
Powerful story, Caution: one scene is emotional brutal.
  fadeledu | Nov 17, 2011 |
Jared Finch's family has agreed to house a refugee family from Africa. The Amabo family is being sponsored by Jared's church, and they will need a place to stay and get acquainted with American culture and how things work. When Jared learns that the Amabo's son Mattu has never heard of the Holocaust, he is amazed and explains. Mattu replies, "We have those in Africa. I have been in one." Jared notices problems immediately and becomes suspicious that perhaps this "family" is not actually a family. The Amabos do not talk or touch, and seem to care little for one another. The only belongings they brought were two boxes of cremated remains, and when Jared and his sister get nosy, they discover uncut diamonds in the ashes. The diamonds are meant to pay for guns through another refugee from whom they have escaped -- but he is hunting for them and danger appears with him. Caroline Cooney has created a mystery based on current events, including the use of "blood diamonds" to pay for African civil wars (weapons, armies, violence), and child soldiers. ( )
  KarenBall | Sep 23, 2011 |
It was interesting and overall good. ( )
  MrsDayClass | Mar 18, 2011 |
I had begun reading this book through the Chapter-a-Day program, and thought it seemed interesting, so I checked it out. It is an interesting combination of Christianity and the refugee situation. Jared and his family volunteer to host a refugee family from Africa whose apartment has fallen through right before they are scheduled to arrive. When the Amabo family shows up at the airport, they do not seem like they have been described, and more troubling, they don’t seem to relate to each other very well. When the truth about the family comes out, it is very terrible, but pretty simplistic too. There is a lot of killing and torture described, but it is mostly off-camera, so it isn’t gory. All of the main characters have very simple motives , and the American family is depicted as having not a lot of ambition. Jared, the main teenage character, does some research about the blood diamonds the family has smuggled in, but ultimately returns the diamond he has found without doing anything more about it. The book can be confusing because it is so simplified – for instance, the reality of the refugee camp is described, but there is no real explanation of why people would end up in these camps. However, I would hope that this book would cause teens to get involved in this cause, or to get their churches involved. There is an unnecessary side plot about a family in the church who has embezzled money from the church coffers – makes this story more dramatic, but it takes the focus off the refugees. ( )
  59Square | Oct 22, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385732619, Hardcover)

THE FINCH FAMILY did not know that five refugees landed from Africa on the day they went to the airport to welcome the family sponsored by their church. The Finch family only knew about the four refugees they were meeting - Andre, Celestine, Mattu, and Alake - mother, father, teenage son and daughter.

Soon Jared realizes that the good guys are not always innocent, and he must make a decision that could change the fate of both families. This story presents many points of view and a fresh perspective on doing the right thing.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:25 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The Finches, a Connecticut family, sponsor an African refugee family of four, all of whom have been scarred by the horrors of civil war, and who inadvertently put their benefactors in harm's way.

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