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Safe House

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  38 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Northern Ireland. In 1999, one year after the Good Friday peace accord, sectarian violence still runs rampant in Belfast and the hatred between Protestant and Catholic runs deep. Liam O'Donnell's father is a peacemaker to the Catholic community. When twelve-year-old Liam's parents are brutally murdered in front of him, he is frozen in place. But when he sees the face of on ...more
Published October 1st 2006 by Orca Book Publishers (first published January 1st 2006)
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This quick read was pleasantly surprising in its balanced look at such a sensitive, divisive issue. Liam is a young Catholic teen living in Northern Ireland who dreams of joining the circus, so he attends classes on the weekends with his friends and has posters of performers lining the walls in his room. But when his parents are brutally murdered in a random retaliation killing, he wakes up to see one of the perpetrators who briefly removed his mask. He is sent to live in a safe house until the ...more
Jan 10, 2016 Alex rated it it was ok
James Heneghan's "Safe House" is an action packed novel that follows the tribulations of a twelve year old boy named Liam Fogarty. The book jumps right into the action from page one when Liam's family is senselessly murdered solely due to the fact that they are Catholic and living in the dark, gloomy and then religiously divided city of Belfast. While in the act of murdering Liam's sleeping parents, one of the killers (nicknamed "The Mole") becomes aware that they are being watched by a young bo ...more
Wow...Orca published a pretty darn exciting book about The Troubles in Northern Ireland--how cool is that?

I loved Orca when I was a high school librarian because of all the books they published for reluctant readers. They are also a Canadian company, so I liked how many of the books were set there and were good for rural folks.

This quick novel is nonstop action--Liam's parents are murdered in the first chapter, and now he is being hunted because he saw one of the killers take off his mask. Afte
Ariel Caldwell
Oct 01, 2015 Ariel Caldwell rated it liked it
I picked it up because it's set in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1999, and explores the Troubles from a young teen boy's perspective. His parents are senselessly murdered (it was random, could've been anyone Catholic) and he can't trust the police (they're mostly Protestant). He ends up in a safe house (hence the title) but the Catholics who run it sell him out and he goes on the run again. The story illustrates how religion (a.k.a. divisive element, whether it's race or gender or...) cannot be t ...more
Kath Ann
Northern Ireland, 1999, one year after the Good Friday Peace Accord.

After witnessing the brutal murder of his parents in his own home while they slept, twelve year old Liam escapes. This story covers Liam's attempt to stay safe while being pursued by one of the men he is able to identify. Flashbacks to the things he learned from his father while growing up help shape this brief history of Liam's life. I especially appreciated the "Irish sayings" his father shared with him.

“Always be a man,” says
Victoria Frias
Jan 31, 2012 Victoria Frias rated it it was amazing
the book i chose to read was called safe house. it was different for me to read because usually i will choose a book that stands out with a cute name colorful cover but this one is dark with just "safe house" on it. I'm very glad i chose this book it kept me on the top of my feet wile reading it and literally left me sleepless for a night after finishing it. Safe House ... a boy named Liam Fogarty was a 12 year old boy who was one night the victim of his parents death he was asleep peacefully un ...more
This is a very simplistically written novel, but that’s OK because its intended audience is reluctant readers. It would be ideal for teenage boys, in particular, who need a little encouragement to read fiction. The action starts on the first page and keeps the reader engaged right to the end. It would also be interesting for a teen or older child who wanted to learn the basics about the “Troubles” in Ireland: a bit of the history, and what it’s like for kids to grow up in a war zone.
I love how the dad says, "like the old Irish saying..." I'd like to create an entire list of these from the book.

For example: "The forest would be terrible silent if no birds sang except those that sang the best," when responding to his son complaint about and friend who was better at gymnastics, and lamenting that he would never be that good.

Good for teaching peace.
Chris Young
Aug 26, 2013 Chris Young rated it liked it
Shelves: school-books
I'm sure my Grade 9 Applied students will live this book, but for me, things seemed anti-climatic. The resolution of this book is pretty random and I felt too easy. However, some good history about Ireland's troubles, but not enough to make me a fan.
Alexander Patton
Apr 20, 2010 Alexander Patton rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: reluctant readers
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Another good book by this author. Exciting and great for reluctant readers.
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James Heneghan (born 1930) is a British Canadian author. Heneghan grew up Liverpool, England, and currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He earned Canadian citizenship in 1963.

* The O'Brien Detective Agency

* Arthur Ellis Award: Juvenile
o 1995 – Torn Away – Winner

* Sheila A. Egoff Children's Book Prize
o 1998 – Wish Me Luck – Winner
o 2001 – The Grave – Winner
o 2003 – Flo
More about James Heneghan...

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