Saturday, March 12, 2016

Gratz, Alan. Code of Honor.

Gratz, Alan.  Code of Honor.  Scholastic Press  2015  278p  $17.99      ISBN 978-0-5456-9519-0  ms/hs Conflict    E-BN 

Kamran, an Iranian American, is a senior in high school hoping to follow his older brother into West Point.  As an Army Ranger, his brother Darius is an honored soldier until he is seen on a terrorist video supporting jihad.  Kamran and his parents have their house torn apart by Homeland Security, are taken to individual holding cells, and are interrogated for several days.  Kamran sees references in the jihadist video that his brother is trying to get a message to him based upon their childhood secret code and games they created years ago.  As the days pass, Kamran realizes that his brother is being held captive, and that Kamran must escape his holding cell to free his brother from the jihadists.  The questions of who to trust and what to believe are all wrapped into this fast-paced, white-knuckle spy adventure about loyalty and codes of honor. The prejudice demonstrated to Kamran by former friends and government officials rings all too true, given current worldwide rhetoric and situations that make it very difficult to identify the enemy.  This novel would be perfect for discussion groups on topics such as the limits of federal power, how to define an American, and the ways in which fear changes behavior.  The last two chapters become philosophical, but are appropriate, given the events that Kamran has experienced.  Short chapters and fast pacing make this novel perfect for a wide variety of readers.  

Summary: Iranian-American brothers test their loyalty oath to each other. The older brother, an Army Ranger, is accused of being a terrorist.  His younger brother is taken into custody by Homeland Security and interrogated, and breaks out of his holding cell to rescue his brother. Grades 7-12.     

Terrorism-Fiction, Spies-Fiction, Prejudice-Fiction   --Lois McNicol

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