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Diamonds in the Shadow    by Caroline B. Cooney order for
Diamonds in the Shadow
by Caroline B. Cooney
Order:  USA  Can
WaterBrook Press, 2009 (2007)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Jared Finch is not thrilled about the idea of taking in a refugee family from war-torn Sierra Leone. When the family arrives, he shares a room with Mattu, a teenager his own age. The cultural divide between the two is wider than Mattu's lack of English.

His sister Mopsy is thrilled to welcome her new guests and his mother is already showing them how to use a microwave and telephone, and introducing then to other modern conveniences. The goal is that their time with the Finches will give the Amabo family a good start in America.

The Amabo family has suffered a past that is so horrific the Finches can't really even begin to imagine their lives. Yet, even with all their differences, Mopsy and Jared are the first to recognize there is something strange with the family.

Hoping to learn more about the refugees, Mopsy and Jared search the few things they've brought with them from their own country. They find diamonds in the ashes of a dead relative - the Amabos have brought the danger of their country with them, putting the Finches in jeopardy, as well.

Jared's family learns that charity means more than sharing food and shelter. Charity means taking risks. There are few books for young people about the difficulties in Africa. In this story, Cooney takes it a step further - she brings the trouble into the heart of an average Connecticut family.

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