Sunday, July 4, 2010

Book Review: Borderline by Allan Stratton

As the only Muslim-American teen in his neighborhood, Sami has always struggled to fit in. It’s difficult to balance hanging out with his carefree friends and living up to his parents’ strict religious expectations. After his father cancels plans to take Sami to Toronto for a father-son bonding weekend, Sami becomes suspicious of his father’s recent secretive behavior. Is his ultra-conservative father having an affair? Or is he involved in something far more sinister?

The best part of BORDERLINE is the character of Sami. As a teen caught between cultures, he’s very sympathetic and it’s easy to relate to his feelings of alienation. It’s because I liked Sami so much that I was willing to go with the flow even when the plot became a bit soap-operatic in the later chapters.

It’s not really a spoiler to say the FBI gets involved, and that there is a terrorist investigation of Sami’s family, because the book is marketed to accentuate that plot point (though it doesn’t come until about halfway through the novel). The portrayal of the FBI here was a bit strange, and I got the feeling the novel was strongly criticizing their procedures. It’s a controversial subject, to be sure. On the one hand, it’s good to know that the FBI and anti-terror agencies are thorough. On the other hand, they can be very quick to jump to conclusions which have long-lasting, life-ruining implications on the accused and their families who are mercilessly battered by the court of public opinion.

BORDERLINE is out in hardcover now. Find out more about it on the author’s website.

16 comments:

bermudaonion said...

This does sound really good. Vance had quite a few Muslim friends when he was in high school, so I saw how difficult it can be for them to fit in,

Charley said...

Hmm, this sounds pretty interesting, but it's too bad that it gets a bit theatrical towards the end. I've experienced that before, and my enthusiasm for an otherwise awesome story can get taken down a few notches by such drama.

Alison said...

Thanks for this review. I haven't heard about this book yet. It sounds very different and an area that should be explored more in literature.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sounds pretty interesting. I think Sami does sound like he'd be a good character to read about.

-lauren

Sandy Shin said...

Thanks for the review. This is the first time I've heard of this book, and it sounds like a good one. *puts on TBR list*

Ali said...

Theatrical plot twists kind of make me crazy! But this still sounds like a book I'd enjoy, if the MC is developed well.

irisonbooks said...

This sounds interesting, but I'm not so sure about the theatrical plottwists..

Girl Friday said...

Ohhh, sounds quite interesting - hadn't heard of Borderline before. Will have to add to my to-read list

Amy said...

This sounds great, definitely going on my want list :)

Zibilee said...

I had been wondering just a few weeks ago if there were any books that dealt with this topic from a teenagers perspective, so it was very good to come across this review. I think that this may be a book that my son would like. Thanks for the very perceptive review, Lenore!

Biblibio said...

I'm perhaps unnecessarily skeptical, but this sounds somewhat sensationalist and over-dramatic for my type. I haven't read the book (and had never heard of it until now...), but I have to wonder at a book that becomes, as you say, soap-operatic by the end...

Lenore said...

Biblibio - I wouldn't characterize it as sensationalist. It's more the actions that the main character takes towards the end that strained believeability a bit.

Linda said...

I think this is one I want to check out...

Andi said...

My stepdaughter read this one and liked it, though given your review I'm surprised she didn't talk more about it. I figured she'd have more questions about the subject matter, but apparently not! Oh well. lol I will read this one too, eventually.

Anonymous said...

it's boring

Anonymous said...

Trust me... the book is pretty boring till the middle, that is when the FBI comes. But yes, the only reason i kept on reading despite the boring plot was because I wanted to see how Sami would deal with the problems :D