The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon


***I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review***


SYNOPSIS: Subhi lives in an Australian refugee camp where he, his mother, and sister wait in a limbo-like state for Subhi’s father and news that they can build a home and leave the camp behind for good. Subhi has never known life outside the camp walls until one day he meets Jimmie, a girl who can’t read. Together the two children form a bond that helps both of them reach a place where they can change their lives for the better.


I had honestly never heard about the Rohingya people or where refugees go when they come to a country to seek asylum before reading this book so for that reason I’m glad that I read this book. The story of these people and the conditions that they are exposed to is told in such a wonderful way that allows the violence not to take center stage, but at the same time you understand perfectly just how horrible these conditions are. The wonderful thing about having a child narrate and having the story be entirely of your own making is that children live in their imagination so that imagination helps make the bad stuff seem softer so you aren’t beaten over the head with how bad things can be, but because it’s a child telling the story you get a better idea of how bad it is because you know what normal should be especially when this world is normal for Subhi and because Subhi is made up there isn’t the need to get someone’s story exactly right and told in just the right way, you just have to tell what needs to be told in the way you want/need to tell it. I loved Subhi’s imagination and I loved how perceptive he was. He’s only 10, but it was great to see how much he understood and at the same time how much his imagination made things fantastic and how he was always the source of hope even when everything seemed like it wouldn’t get any better. I also loved his relationship with Jimmie because it was wonderful to get that moment of what life could be like and just how Subhi described things he’d never seen, done, or felt before. I wish that there was more with Jimmie because her story in conjunction with Subhi’s felt unnecessary. I felt like they were in two separate stories and while Jimmie does have a complete arc, it didn’t feel enough for me and it didn’t feel as well developed as Subhi’s, but that might be because he got the majority of the story. She was a fun character and I love that both children helped each other in both small and large ways. While this book is far from perfect you do get that feeling of importance. I love when books teach you something without really teaching you something. The Bone Sparrow sheds light on something that is still happening today without beating you over the head with the fact that all of this is horrible. The writing is beautiful and the characters are amazing. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to read.

Thank you Disney-Hyperion for allowing me to read this book! Get yourself a copy here.


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