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In Darkness

by Nick Lake

Published by Bloomsbury, 2012
341 pages
ISBN: 978𢴓99907437

Age 14 and older

The heartbreaking poverty and violence in Site Sol鑩, Haiti, are brought into the light for readers here in this singular, compelling novel that moves back and forth between the lives of Shorty, a teen in contemporary Haiti, and Toussaint L扥uverture, leader of the eighteenth-century revolution that freed Haiti from France. As Shorty, trapped in building rubble after the devastating earthquake, struggles to stay alive, he reflects on his childhood and young adulthood. His father was murdered by one of two warring gang factions tied to opposing political leaders and drugs. His twin sister disappeared that day, kidnapped, Shorty thinks, by the gang. A part of his heart had been missing ever since and he dreamed of someday rescuing her, gradually getting drawn into gang life himself. As Shorty grows weaker in the rubble, he dreams about L扥uverture, and the historical portions of the narrative shift to the rebel slave leader抯 point of view. Author Nick Lake works with both fact and imagination as he conjures a mystical connection between the two characters while grounding each of their stories in the realities of their times. Lake reinforces the connection between Shorty and L扥uverture with similar scenes in each time period described in identical or nearly identical language. The historical fight for freedom underscores the tragedy of contemporary life in Site Sol鑩, where poverty is another form of slavery and violent drug lords are also saviors, providing food and medicine when others梚ncluding international relief agencies梒an抰, or won抰.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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