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Diamonds in the Shadow
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Diamonds in the Shadow

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  928 ratings  ·  157 reviews
A powerful novel about the difficulty of doing what is right.

Through their love for people, yet ignorance of the unknown, the Finch Family has joined alongside their church and opened their home to an African refugee family who are moving to Connecticut. The Amabo family of four– Andre, Celestine, Mattu, and Alake: father, mother, and teenage son and daughter– arrive in g...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by WaterBrook Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,608)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for

I've been a fan of Caroline B. Cooney ever since reading THE FACE ON THE MILK CARTON years ago. That being said, I was thrilled when I saw she has a new book, DIAMONDS IN THE SHADOW.

True to her contemporary style, Cooney brings in a current events issue - the unexplainable violence taking place in some areas of Africa today. This new book focuses on a group of African refugees coming to the United States to begin living safer and...more
Cal Malone
Diamonds in the Shadow is about an American family, the Finches, taking in an African family the Amabos. The Finches are made up of Kara, the wife/mother, Drew, the husband/father, Mopsy/Martha a playful sixth grader and Jared their unenthusiastic teenage son. The Amabos include a mother/wife named Celestine, a father/husband named Andre who got his hands chopped off in Africa, a speechless daughter named Alake and an eager teenage boy named Mattu who has incredible English. I think the name Ma...more
This book has been sitting on my nightstand for close to a year and I finally decided to pick it up a week ago. The story is tragic and it is a little bit scary to read about all of these things that are happening in Africa when there is very little media coverage. There is one quote that was really strong. They were having a conversation about Jesus forgiving people when Jared, the American boy, compares it to the Holocaust:

"What is the Holocaust?" Mattu asked. “It was this nightmare that happ...more
Diamonds in the Shadow is a curious mix of deep thinking and shallow characters. The American characters all seem to be caricatures of middle class America, Jared is a typical, sullen teen, and Mopsy is a flighty, air-headed sister. The mom is constant movement and ready to solve everyone's problems and of course, the dad is absent and distracted most of the time. The American characters were boring but the book was worth reading however, presenting some heavy questions.

The Finch family houses a...more
Lorraine Stinson
Good suspense as expected from Cooney. The tie in to brutal civil war in Africa is handled well. A little over the top with the religious themes.
As Americans most of us do not know the fear and horrors that Africans know. Most of us, in general, do not understand or know about the horrors going on in Africa. In this book, Cooney introduces us to these horrors through an African refugee family that has come to live with an American family in Connecticut.

We begin the book by knowing something is wrong. The family of four have arrived in America, but a fifth refugee has arrived as well. The family is terrified of other refuge, but luckily...more
Emma Anderson
Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney is a book about refugees coming to America.I never really knew how hard or what it was like to be or house a refugee ,but after this book I learned how hard it really was. The refugees are Mattu,Alake,Their dad Andre,and Celestine their mom. The people who housed them were Mopsy,Jared,their mom Kara,and their dad Drew. The book is a mystery. When the refugee family comes to America they come with nothing but two boxes with supposedly their grandparent...more
Mason Frey
Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney
Review by Mason Frey

Diamonds in the Shadow takes place in current day Connecticut. The Finches are a family made up of Kara, a wife and mother of two children, Drew, the husband and father, Mopsy, the playful and crazy sixth grade daughter, and Jared, the unenthusiastic teenage son. And the refugees are Celestine, the mother of two children a boy and a girl, Andre, the handless husband and father, Alake, the teenage girl who doesn’t speak, and Mattu, t...more
Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
When the apartment that the Amabo family was to stay in falls through - Jared is forced to share his bedroom with Mattu - their teenage son. He is not very happy about this -not happy at all. Mopsy, Jared's younger sister, is overjoyed at the fact that their teenage daughter Alake will be bunking with her.

The Amabo family are refugees from Africa. They have received passage to the states and are being sponsered by Jared's church. They will help to give them training and find jobs - but there is...more
This book is about how an upper middle class Christian family takes on a family of refugees from Africa who aren't who they seem to be. It's a contemporary, roughly upper-end of middle grade, I would say and beginning YA. The characters are good and none of them are perfect, which I like. The characterization was fairly light but that doesn't mean it was thin. There was just enough for them to stand out as real people. Normally, someone like Mopsy would have annoyed me--being played as ingratiat...more
The book I read is called DIAMONDS IN THE SHADOW written by Caroline B. Cooney. After reading this book, I placed it in the genre of an adventure/mystery type of book.
I have to say this book was really interesting to read; in some parts it left me in suspense to find out what would happen next. At times I would stop and think about how the characters felt during the experience that they were going through. This reminded me of foreign exchange students when they come into a country, they don't...more
Diamonds in the Shadow was very different in the context of the writing. It was harder for me to rate and harder to classify than other books. It's good and I liked it a lot. It had just as much to say about the American characters as it did about the African characters and things going on in Africa. It was imaginative in that respect. The characters were developed in an interesting way in that they each seemed to point out something that the author wanted to say. They weren't caricatures but th...more
Jill Williamson
Review by Jill Williamson

Jared is annoyed. He gets that people like to be do-gooders in the world, but why his family? And why dangerous African refugees? As he understands it, there are no good guys in a civil war, so how was he supposed to get excited about sharing his bedroom with a teenage soldier who may or may not have killed?

Yet his parents sign up to house a family of four African refugees. The dad has no hands, the daughter is a mute, and none of them have ever used a phone, gone to a s...more
Jared Finch is not thrilled about the idea of taking in a refugee family from war-torn Sierra Leone. When the family arrives, he shares a room with Mattu, a teenager his own age. The cultural divide between the two is wider than Mattu's lack of English.

His sister Mopsy is thrilled to welcome her new guests and his mother is already showing them how to use a microwave and telephone, and introducing then to other modern conveniences. The goal is that their time with the Finches will give the Amabo...more
Rianne LaHaie
When I started this book, I thought it would be really boring. But as i read further and further into it; it got better and better. I also thought that they would end up living with the Finches because i thought that they would become dependant on them and that didn't happen at all.
My favorite part of the book was the part where Alake talked and saved Mopsy, because it wasn't expetcted and nobody thought she would become so lively. My favorite character is Alake because she is she mysterious and...more
Karen Ball
Jared Finch's family has agreed to house a refugee family from Africa. The Amabo family is being sponsored by Jared's church, and they will need a place to stay and get acquainted with American culture and how things work. When Jared learns that the Amabo's son Mattu has never heard of the Holocaust, he is amazed and explains. Mattu replies, "We have those in Africa. I have been in one." Jared notices problems immediately and becomes suspicious that perhaps this "family" is not actually a family...more
Ryan Leff
This book was by far one of the best books i have read. In the begging of the book we learn that Jared Finch has a Mom, Dad, and A sister named Mopsy. Jared's parents have voulenteered to take in African Refugees for survival, And when Jared finds out about it, he gets angry. Not only because he doesn't know the family, but because they are sleeping in his room, using his supplies, and watching on his "Glorious" T-V. When the Family moves in, Jared meets Andre the Brother, Alake the sister, and...more
This is a hard-hitting, thoughtful, insightful book about an American family and the family of refugees from Africa who comes to live with them. The Finches and the members of their congregation run the gamut of motives - from the pastor who hopes to make people forget the financial scandal in his congregation to Mrs. Finch, who's never met a project she can't manage. But its Jared and Mopsy, the Finch children, who notice the inconsistencies and missing details in the refugees' stories. At the...more
Pairing with Son of a Gun
Diamonds In The Shadow
Realistic Fiction

Paired with Son of a Gun because they both deal with Civil Wars in Africa. A family of refugees comes to America, but they are not who people think they are.

I would give this book to a student after they completed Son of a Gun. I would also recommend reading Son of a Gun before reading this book. This would be an excellent book to give a teacher beginning a discussion on refugees and conflicts in Africa.

WHII.16 Th...more
“In a civil war, nobody is innocent,” the aid society worker warns the American family who has agreed to receive an African refugee family. No one but fifteen-year-old Jared seems to be listening. The sponsoring church committee is a bunch of naive American do-gooders who don’t really believe in the existence of the evil the Africans are fleeing. In our society there is always a solution to any problem. (Well, maybe not getting Republicans and Democrats to work together, but that doesn’t come in...more
Holy MOLY this was good! I can't believe how much I enjoyed it! This is a fantastic realistic fiction book by Caroline B. Cooney. I have read some of her earlier works, things like "The Face on the Milk Carton" and "Code Orange". Although I enjoyed those books, this is a MUCH better book! It seems as if Cooney's writing is getting better the more she writes! I had a difficult time putting this book down. It was FULL of foreshadowing, and mystery.

The reader is immediately drawn into the story of...more
Jared gets a huge shock when his parents announce that the family will be taking in a family from a refugee camp in war-torn western Africa. He doesn't want to share a room with someone who may never have used an indoor bathroom before! right away, he feels like there is something off with the family when they arrive. The descriptions that were supplied by the refugee society don't match up with the stories and reality of the family. The father has no hands (they were chopped off by a war lord),...more
An American family of four. An African family of four ... plus one shadow figure with a murderous agenda.

Jared Finch is less than pleased when his parents agree to host the Amabos - an African refugee family - in their home until an affordable apartment can be found for them. It means, among other things, that he will be forced to share his private space with a teenage boy, who shows up carrying the ashes of his dead grandparents in boxes. How weird can things get?

Jared's sister, Mopsy, also s...more
I really liked this book, it kept me going to where I was interested all the way through and I look forward to reading other books by Caroline B. Cooney. Definitely a recommended book for any one who wants a good read for DAnville's Historical Fiction Challenge.

The African family is introduced to many new things from Super Markets to Computers to Ovens, it is amazing realizing how many opportunities we have and then these African families come and feel like they live in a palace when we feel lik...more
Like many of Caroline B. Cooney's books, this one is suspenseful, but unlike some, the suspense works for an adult reader as well as I'm sure it will for middle and high school students. Additionally, this book has some very strong characterization. From the moment the Finch family first meets the family of four refugees from Africa that they have agreed to help, they realize that things are not as they expected. They speak English fluently - although Celestine and Andre, the parents, have stron...more
Jo Sorrell
The Finch family has opened their home to an African refugee family who are moving to Connecticut. The Amabo family of four— Andre, Celestine, Mattu, and Alake: father, mother, and teenage son and daughter— arrive in great hope as they have escaped the tyranny of Africa. What the Finch family doesn’t know is that there are not just four refugees in this Amabo family, but five.

The Amabo family begins to adjust to life in the Finches’ suburban Connecticut home and there is a great deal of good w...more
Nov 02, 2009 Claudia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Claudia by: Jenny, Karen
Shelves: sequoyah-2010
Suspense and mystery. Danger and intrigue. THese are unusual elements for most YAL -- Cooney has raised our awareness of the genocide in Africa, and the horrible violence done in the name of providing us with the diamonds we love to wear.

There's something scary about the refugee family who will be living with Jared Finch and his family...they seem to have no affection for, or connection with, each other. Everyone comes to America with horrible scars, some we can see and some that are hidden from...more
WOW! I just have to say WOW. this book is thrilling, scary, and just plain weird. It is definatly one of the best books I've read in a awile. Jared just found out that his family is going to take in a family of four african refugies. but their are not really the same family. the previously family was shot. the father lost his hands in the war and his wife and him lost their daughter to the dreadful bloodthirsty solder, Victor, the also held a yound girl , Alake, hostage well killing her family h...more
Patricia Holland
Response: I was looking forward to reading this book and I was not disappointed. It was a great mystery that I believe any young boy would love to read as well as girls. There are a lot of facts imbedded in the book about refugees that I learned a lot from. This was definitely another page turner by Cooney!

Teaching implication: The central plot of this book involves African Refugees. The author writes several facts about real African refugees at the end of the book. This gave me the idea to make...more
Diamonds in the Shadow is an exciting and suspenseful book about what happens when an African refugee family ends up living with an American family in suburban Connecticut. Jared Finch, a typical American teenager does not want to be sharing his life or his room with a boy he has never met. The Amabo family seems overwhelmed by American life. They cannot believe generosity of the church for sponsoring them and the Finches for helping them acclimate to American life. As time goes on Jared begins...more
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Caroline Cooney knew in sixth grade that she wanted to be a writer when "the best teacher I ever had in my life" made writing her main focus. "He used to rip off covers from The New Yorker and pass them around and make us write a short story on whichever cover we got. I started writing then and never stopped!"
When her children were young, Caroline started writing books for young people -- with rem...more
More about Caroline B. Cooney...
The Face on the Milk Carton (Janie Johnson, #1) Whatever Happened to Janie? (Janie Johnson, #2) The Voice on the Radio (Janie Johnson, #3) What Janie Found (Janie Johnson, #4) Code Orange

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