Chiko is a studious Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in jail for resisting the government. Chiko is taken from his family and forced to fight in a war. Tu Reh is a fighter, and proud to fight the Burmese soldiers who have already taken his Karenni home. This book is about these two 15-year-olds on opposite sides of a military and political conflict.
This book explores how people can learn not to hate others they’ve been taught to hate, even in the middle of a conflict. There are some good examples of hard choices, and what it means to be responsible - it's a discussion-worthy book. The author does a really frustrating thing by introducing you to a character, and right when that character reaches a crisis point, the story shifts the point of view to a completely different person and makes you wait to connect with the initial character. It's not a delicious kind of frustration, but it is necessary to examine both perspectives for the story to pose its most meaningful questions.
"Take the stick!" he says. "Take it and hit him. Hard."
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