Saturday, July 09, 2005

Overboard by Elizabeth Fama

This is an unusual book, because after the first 35 pages, the rest of the action takes place in the Indian Ocean, where 14-year-old Emily is floundering without a life vest after the ferry she was on sank. It is based on a true story of a girl who is living in Sumatra, Indonesia, where her pediatrician parents are working. Emily helps out with the sick children at the clinic too, but she resents the amount of time her parents spend there, and she wishes she could return home to Boston with her uncle, who is visiting the nearby island of Weh. After an upsetting incident involving the death of a child patient, Emily runs away and takes a ferry to try to meet her uncle, but halfway through the crossing the ferry sinks. She finds herself in the deep, shark-infested ocean waters amid hundreds of panicking people. She meets a younger Indonesian boy who she helps, and they must struggle through the night and the next day, hoping to be rescued. The book is suspenseful and gives a good insight into the differences between Muslim and Western cultures. Review by Stacy Church

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