Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Door of No Return by Sarah Mussi

Main character: 16-year-old Zac Baxter
Location: England and Ghana
Time period: Contemporary, with references to events in the 1700's
Genre: YA Fiction, Suspense, Slavery

The Door of No Return is a exciting, suspenseful story that deal with that approaches the familiar topic of African Slavery from a totally different angle--at least it's a different angle for those of us living in the United States. Instead of focusing on slavery in the American South before the Civil War, it looks at the complicity of the British government in the slave trade.

Zac has grown up hearing his grandfather telling stories about how he is the last descendant of an African king who was tricked out of a golden treasure intended to ransom his youngest son who had been captured by slave traders. Though the ransom was paid, the boy was never returned to his father but was instead sent to a plantation in Jamaica. Zac's grandfather was adamant that his family, and all families descended from slaves, deserved compensation from the British government and claimed to have documents that verified his story. Zac didn't really believe in his grandfather's stories--at least not until the night that they were mugged and his grandfather was murdered. Then Zac's house is robbed. And Zac is attacked on the street. Then Zac is removed from the foster house he was sent to when his foster father begins to ask too many questions.

There are a number of things that I like about this book. Zac is a very appealing kid, even in his most angry and sullen moments. After reading a number of suspense books in which the main character is betrayed by someone he trusts too much, I was glad to see that Zac developed a healthy dose of paranoia. Of course, he still winds up trusting the wrong person, but I give him points for the many people he is wary of. I really liked that his foster parents were genuinely concerned about him, even after he was taken from their care and they no longer had an official duty toward him. He makes some friends along the way, patricularly Ashley, Mina, and Badu--young people like himself whose own life experiences and family stories give him the clues he needs to solve the mystery and fulfill his destiny.

No comments: