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Three different kids.

One mission in common: ESCAPE.

Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe…

All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.

352 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 25, 2017

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About the author

Alan Gratz

33 books3,346 followers
Alan Gratz is the bestselling author of a number of novels for young readers. His 2017 novel Refugee has spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, and is the winner of 14 state awards. Its other accolades include the Sydney Taylor Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Cybils Middle Grade Fiction Award, a Charlotte Huck Award Honor, and a Malka Penn Award for Human Rights Honor. Refugee was also a Global Read Aloud Book for 2018.

Alan’s novel Grenade debuted at number three on the New York Times bestseller list, and his most recent book, Allies, debuted at number two on the list and received four starred reviews. His other books include Prisoner B-3087, which was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Readers pick and winner of eight state awards; Projekt 1065, a Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2016 and winner of five state awards; Code of Honor, a YALSA Quick Pick for Young Readers; and Ban This Book, which was featured by Whoopi Goldberg on The View.

Alan has traveled extensively to talk about his books, appearing at schools and book festivals in 39 states and a half-dozen countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, and Switzerland, and has been a Writer in Residence at Tokyo’s American School in Japan, the James Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio, and the Jakarta Intercultural School in Indonesia.

Alan was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the 1982 World’s Fair. After a carefree but humid childhood, Alan attended the University of Tennessee, where he earned a College Scholars degree with a specialization in creative writing, and, later, a Master’s degree in English education. He now lives with his family in Asheville, North Carolina, where he enjoys playing games, eating pizza, and, perhaps not too surprisingly, reading books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,547 reviews
Profile Image for Carolyn.
271 reviews9 followers
October 27, 2017
Every ignorant adult should read this, and then slap themselves across the face.

SUCH an important read right now and Alan Gratz told it so brilliantly. Young enough for me to lend to my friend's 9yo, and powerful enough for him to take it seriously.
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
701 reviews3,351 followers
January 5, 2018
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

It is 1939, and Joseph is a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany.

It is 1994, and Isabel is a Cuban girl whose country is plagued by civil unrest.

It is 2015, and Mahmoud is a Syrian boy living in a war-torn country.

All three depart from their homeland and make a perilous journey in search of refuge.

Very little needs to be said of Gratz’s magnificent work. This book will speak for itself through rave reviews and a plethora of five-star ratings. To say too much about it would distract from the intensity of each character’s story. Readers must discover for themselves the harrowing journey made by Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud.

This much, however, must be said: Mahmoud’s family departs from Syria to reach Germany. Joseph’s family leaves Germany to reach Cuba. And Isabel’s family departs from Cuba for America. Though their stories take place decades apart, it’s a veritable ring-around-the-world with humans foolishly repeating history - similar injustices, different locations.

Because this book is intended for readers ages 9 to 12, some sensitive content bears mentioning: women are described as having been “stoned and killed for not covering up their entire bodies,” a child witnesses a man being shot in the head, men are described as being forcibly drowned, flogged, hanged and beaten in Dachau, bullets fly and one man describes seeing another man shot, homeless people are said to have gotten “sick and died” by the thousands, a young man is said to have “died when a barrel bomb exploded,” drowned bodies are described as having been found on a beach, a man points a gun directly in a boy’s face, and a person's leg is badly shredded by a .

It’s imperative that sensitive content not deter adults from sharing this book with young readers. The historical and cultural significance of Refugee, coupled with its emotive writing and tense, tightly woven plot, make it an invaluable contribution to children’s literature.

Refugee is Newbery Medal material – a historical tour de force and an absolute must read for people of all ages.
Profile Image for Katy O. .
2,314 reviews723 followers
July 22, 2017
Thank you to Scholastic and Edelweiss for the digital galley of this title - all opinions are my own.

REFUGEE is hands-down the most important upper middle grade book of the year. It is the MUST READ read aloud title for every single middle school teacher this coming 2017-2018 school year, and I don't say that lightly given that I read so so so many books! If WISHTREE by Katherine Applegate is my required read aloud for grades 1-4, then REFUGEE is assigned for grades 5-8.

Gratz weaves three refugee stories expertly in this tale, leaving readers racing to figure out how they are connected in the end. Josef is escaping Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Isabel is leaving Castro's Cuba in 1994, and Mahmoud is fleeing Syria's civil war in 2015. All three stories involve persecution, danger, and the horrors of the refugee's plight, but they also give faint glimmers of hope about the kindness of certain strangers. All three children end up on boats during their journeys, telling stories that even most adults in the US are unaware of regarding these refugee crises. Our students and children need to know of the events in this book, and Gratz does an excellent job of providing the historical basis for the stories in his author's note. He also gives suggestions on how to help.

I can't speak strongly enough about how important REFUGEE is, but am proving it by ordering 12 copies of this book for my school libraries and am planning a staff book club for my middle/high school this coming fall centered on this book. Teachers and librarians, get this book immediately so you can read it before you share it with your students. If you are an adult reader with no classroom to read it aloud to, gift it to a school, library or child you know! If you want an adult title to pair it with, I highly recommend EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid.

REFUGEE is officially on my BEST of 2017 shelf.
Profile Image for Skip.
3,345 reviews411 followers
January 16, 2018
Like RJ Palacio's Wonder, this book should be mandatory reading for middle school age kids in America, teaching about the horrific plight of refugees. There are three separate stories told, each of which is sufficient to evoke empathy from readers: Josef and his family in 1939 (Jews trying to escape Hitler's Europe), Isabel and her family in 1994 (Cubans trying to escape Castro), and Mahmoud and his family (Syrians trying to escape war-torn Aleppo and ISIS.) Each family suffers in different ways, but are mistreated in common along the way too. Gratz does a nice job, integrating the family stories at the end. Personally, I would have preferred the stories be told sequentially and historically because I found rotating the stores to be distracting.
Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
2,076 reviews5,040 followers
October 27, 2022
As my first Alan Gratz, I must say that this was absolutely phenomenal. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but I knew that he had some serious traction amongst middle school kids at the library. He's easily going to be an author that I would recommend for anyone that is interested in emotional, complex historical fiction for middle grade readers. I can't wait to explore more of his backlist. CW: descriptive death on page, discrimination, gun violence, attempted suicide, and more.

Refugee pulled me in because of the title. With the current refugee crisis happening around the globe, I wanted to see what a middle grade writer would bring to the table for a younger audience. What I didn't expect was this complex, layered, multifaceted narrative that would nearly have me in tears by the end of the book. The story itself follows three different narratives: Josef, a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany during the 1930s; Isabel, Cuban girl trying to escape Castro's reign in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy who is trying to make it to Europe in 2015. Each narrative details the long and tedious journey that the characters and their families make in order to make it to safety. What surprised me the most about each perspective was the rawness and grittiness of their experiences. I'm not sure I was expecting the text to be so graphic considering that quite a few middle grade novels would shy away from displaying certain acts of violence on page; however, Gratz handles each situation with clarity, honesty, and respect while also informing young readers of the realities that children their age face every single day. There is an interconnectedness to the stories that goes beyond them being refugees that I didn't anticipate seeing and thoroughly breaking my heart. Each character exhibits such a level of courage and resilience that made me admire them, but also broke my heart. It never becomes any easier to know that there are children who not only see some of the most horrific things this world has to offer, but they also have to make some of the most difficult and complex decisions that a lot of humans will never face in their lifetime.

The authors note is definitely worth reading as it details the amount of research that Gratz put into this novel and the real life individuals from which these stories drew inspiration. Gratz's writing is so fluid and accessible that even those who are not the biggest fans of history or modern events will become enraptured by every single word on the page. This is the type of book that gets students interested and engaged in experiences that go beyond their front door. This is the type of book that builds empathy and awareness to global issues. I cannot recommend it enough.
Profile Image for Anja.
139 reviews41 followers
February 6, 2021
Ein unfassbar wichtiges, ergreifendes Buch über Krieg, die Folgen daraus und das alles so gut für Kinder/Jugendliche erklärt. Unsere 3 Hauptprotagonisten nehmen uns in ihrer Zeit mit und lassen uns spüren,was es heisst zu fliehen um zu überleben. Josef, der als Jude vor den Nazis flieht, Isabell, die mit ihrer Familie aus Kuba nach Amerika flieht,als die Sowjetunion als andauernder Handelspartner zerfällt und Mahmoud,der aus dem Kriegsgebiet Syrien flieht. Alle 3 Schicksale beruhen auf wahren Begebenheiten ,auch wenn die Personen an sich fiktiv sind,sind sie greifbar, und so nah. Dieses Buch sollte Jeder lesen und ich drücke es jetzt meinem 12 jährigen Sohn in die Hand.
Profile Image for Brooke.
284 reviews142 followers
November 24, 2017
I was hesitant going into this one because I wasn't sure how the 3 MC stories would tie together. Unfortunately, my fears were confirmed. While I admire Gratz's attempt at penning a engaging read about a crucially important topic, I found the format to be disjointed & underwhelming. The short chapters made it difficult to attach emotional bonds to the MCs & their families. I like the fact that Gratz chose completely different timelines for them (Josef- 1938; Isabel 1994; Mahmoud- 2015) & showing that they are still the same hardships that happen today, but my interest wavered throughout; I wonder if a separate book for each MC's journey would have been more impactful?

I am certainly in the minority with this & I'm sad to give this only 2 stars, but the format just really irked me. The topic is so, so important & I recommend it especially for elementary/middle school readers (note: there is one "pissed" remark). I'm glad that I read this, but it's not something I'd pick up again.
Profile Image for Erin.
3,089 reviews484 followers
April 28, 2019
I borrowed this from our classroom library and once I started, I just couldn't stop. Then again, that is the plight of a reader.

Refugee is a middle grade historical fiction told through the eyes of three children- Josef in 1938 Germany, Isabel in 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud in 2015 Syria. The book also includes maps of each fictional characters journey and includes a thorough author's note about the history behind the story.

A compelling story, Refugee unveils the circumstances that force people to leave their origin countries and face terrifying challenges as they struggle to find a safe place to live.
Profile Image for Cody Kautz.
2 reviews1 follower
October 22, 2021
“ And when those soldiers said one of us could go free and the other would be taken to a concentration camp, Josef said, ‘Take me.’ I did not like how the author skipped parts of the timelines in the stories. However, I liked how the author switched to another story right before revealing a suspenseful part. I enjoyed how the author was descriptive in telling each story. I loved how each story made me understand the stressful and crazy journeys of refugees. I liked how the author at the end of the book, revealed that all three stories were linked.
Profile Image for Emma.
285 reviews15 followers
December 31, 2017
I gave Alan Gratz another chance. After loving Prisoner B-3087, absolutely hating Projekt 1065, and Newbery talk for Refugee, I figured it was time for redemption. This was redeeming enough to make me consider reading other Alan Gratz books in the future, especially for the purpose of recommending them to students. But, it was not redeeming enough to make me change my position that Prisoner was a one-hit-wonder and all these follow-up books with a similar gray-scale cover and red lettering are just Gratz/Scholastic trying to milk its success.

At the beginning, the chapters are short and focus more on action and cliffhangers rather than establishing characters and settings. We get it, Scholastic. You want middle schoolers to eat this up so that librarians will buy it and it will be your next
money maker. But, it makes it kind of hard to root for characters in the midst of all the action when we don’t even know who they are. The changing point of view made it even more difficult to get to know characters. I especially had a hard time with Isabel. There were many characters shoved into her boat without much depth, so I had a hard time keeping them straight. I feel like I really could have liked her and cared more about her story if only Gratz would have given her a few more pages per chapter. As it was, she was my least favorite.

Aside from a few info dumps about WWII era Germany, communist Cuba, and the Syrian civil war, a lot of knowledge about refugees and why they need to leave their homes is assumed. Again, this is something that could have been developed further to really give readers a sense of the dire circumstances refugees face. Unfortunately, it seemed like Gratz only wanted to establish at the most surface level that the original situation was bad so that he could rush the characters off to a sudden, life-or-death situation. For example, Mahmoud’s family leaves Syria and then suddenly they are getting into rickety boat to cross the Mediterranean. The father asks, “what choice do we have?” I too wondered what choices they had. I understand that refugees often don’t have a choice, but I got no sense of the desperation and urgency to risk your life. It was just too sudden. Yet another problem that could have been solved with just a few more pages per chapter.

Towards the middle the chapters started lengthening and I felt I could settle more into who the characters were. However, without a strong attachment to them from the beginning, I wasn’t as moved by their situations as I could have been. I really liked Mahmoud’s story, but the invisibility/visibility theme was way too heavy handed. As in, it was directly stated. Multiple times. Scholastic, Gratz, and middle school librarians: please believe that middle schoolers are capable of more sophistication than that. A part of the theme that was less heavy handed that I would choose to explore, however, was how the refugees were definitely visible as dollar signs. So often they were taken advantage of so that others could make a buck. That is the part that moved me and redeemed the other, more surface level depictions of the circumstances of refugees.
Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
513 reviews371 followers
February 20, 2018
This book was brutal. I will not be forgetting it anytime soon. I need a few days to think on this one to even figure out how to review it.

I would highly recommend this book but it does not tread lightly on the harsh realities of the situation. If your child is going to try this one, I'd recommend reading it with them so you can help give them context and talk about what is happening to these children that you are following.
Profile Image for Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ....
1,932 reviews47 followers
April 6, 2018
Although this book is aimed at young adults I would recommend it to every adult -- especially those in the USA. It is magnificent. Really, really good. It is smart and rich, emotional and real. The author has taken little tidbits of real stories and woven them into his fictional account of three young people who must escape their homelands. They must leave to keep their lives, and yet leaving subjects them at huge risk of dying.

In 1939 Joseph, a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany, is trying to escape to Cuba and eventually to the USA. In 1994 Isabel, a Cuban girl is trying to escape to the USA leaving country led by a Communist dictator. And, in 2015 Mahmoud, a Syrian boy living in war-torn Aleppo is trying to escape to safety in Europe. Their stories are parallel. And, despite their differences in time, religion, and race they are each dealing with the same awful hardships.

Their stories allow us to see that humans are humans ... all equal.
Profile Image for Julia Michel.
45 reviews13 followers
March 1, 2021
Nein, was hab ich geheult 😢..

Mittendrin hatte ich kurzzeitig das Gefühl kleinerer Längen, wobei das auch an mir gelegen haben kann.

Dennoch konnte der Autor dieses Buch unfassbar bildlich darstellen. Großartiger und emotionaler Schreibstil. Die drei Schicksale der Kinder und ihrer Familien gegen ans Herz und an die Substanz. Drei verschiedene Kulturen, Glaubensrichtungen und Geschichten hinter den einzelnen Familien. Drei Szenarien die (so oder so ähnlich) wirklich passiert sind und teilweise immernoch passieren. Tag für Tag.

Erschreckend und tiefst beklemmend.

Die Welt befindet sich derzeit, wie wir alle wissen, in einer Ausnahmesituation.. viele kämpfen um ihre Existenzen und um ihre finanziellen Mittel. Aber dennoch kommt niemand ungefragt zu uns nach Hause, verwüstet unser privates hab und gut , niemand bedroht uns mit Waffen, niemand nimmt uns unsere Kinder, Großeltern oder andere Familienmitglieder weg.. Wir haben ein Dach über dem Kopf und (in der Regel) auch ausreichend zu essen!

Dieses Buch hat mich an einer Stelle getroffen die uns alle betrifft. Wir sehen vieles als selbstverständlich an. Vieles davon kann sich aber auch von heute auf morgen ändern.. einfach so..

Hier noch ein kleiner Spoilerteil. Ich gehe nicht ins Detail - aber für mich war der Punkt den ich gleich anspreche, etwas, was das Buch von 4 auf 5 Sterne gehoben hat.


Das allergrößte für mich, war definitiv der Zusammenhang aller Geschichten! Oh mein Gott, was hab ich geheult.

Die Geschichten liegen teilweise Jahrzehnte auseinander. Natürlich. Als ich das erste Mal Zusammenhänge bei Lito und Josef bzw der St.Louis erkannte hatte ich Gänsehaut. Dann passierte einige Zeit nichts mehr in die Richtung und ich vergaß einen potentiellen Zusammenhang. Zumal mir die dritte Geschichte hier überhaupt nicht in den Sinn kam.

Als sich jedoch in den letzten Kapiteln unerwarteterweise alles fügte hatte ich Gänsehaut.. Mir sind die Tränen nur so gelaufen. Wow!! Was für ein emotionales Wahnsinnsbuch.. ich hoffe, das jeder (!) es irgendwann gelesen hat. Denn hier ist so viel wichtiges und essentielles enthalten. So viel das uns alle angeht!

Auch die Nacherklärung fand ich super spannend. Ich werde mich definitiv noch weiter mit Schiendick, Schröder, Josef Landau, dem kleinen Omran usw auseinandersetzen!

Danke auch an Alan Gratz für die Teilspende des Erlöses aus dem Buchverkauf an Stellen die betroffenen helfen.
Profile Image for Marta Marlau.
427 reviews10 followers
September 25, 2018
4,5/5 ⭐️ Un libro MUY necesario. Un golpe de realidad es lo que supone esta lectura. Incluso sabiendo lo que ha ocurrido y lo que está ocurriendo con los refugiados. Tres historias de tres niños obligados a abandonar su hogar perdiendo por el camino lo que más quieren, en tres épocas diferentes. Duro, triste, real y de obligada lectura.
Próximamente reseña en https://rincondemarlau.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Shannon.
1,584 reviews
August 20, 2017
While the subject matter of this book is compelling, I found the format a distraction. The super short chapters never let me stay with one narrative long enough to really emotionally connect with the characters.

That being said, I think this book is important reading for 10-13 year olds. The tales of Jewish, Cuban and Syrian refugees are well told and insightful. Because the main characters are all children, it's a book that will help you younger readers understand the challenges and hardships of refugees.
Profile Image for Fares.
246 reviews313 followers
July 25, 2019
I was a bit surprised about this book, it's really good but I didn't expect to be this juvenile and that threw me off at first, sure the three MCs were teenagers and that should've been enough for me to realize that maybe this isn't what I thought it was but I think I read too many books about kids suffering. It's more about the writing tho, things were explained in a very simple manner that for a moment I thought the author was looking down at me 😅
So yeah it's a really good book just keep in mind it's for younger readers.
Profile Image for Anna (bibliophiles_bookstagram).
581 reviews16 followers
May 1, 2018
Oh my gosh this book. There has been a handful of books that have put me in tears, and this was one of them. The novel chronicles three different refugee stories: Josef, a Jewish boy in 1939 Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl in 1994 Havana; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 Aleppo. The stories span almost a century, but the stories are the SAME! One of the most prominent themes is that a little help goes a long way. “[Isabel’s] heart ached with gratitude toward these people. Just a moment’s kindness from each of them might mean the difference between death and survival for her mother and everyone else on the little raft.” Mahmoud, breaking out of his comfort of being invisible, realizes he won’t survive without help: “See us. Hear us. Help us.”

The tale is realistic. It isn’t sugar coated. It portrays a true depiction of the horrors of leaving the only home you’ve known for a chance at safety, at life. The realities are harsh, and there isn’t always a happy ending. But for some, there is.

After reading this, I hope that Gratz’s message is abundantly clear: let’s keep working to aid in happy endings. His afterword is infuriating and inspiring. Gratz tells about his inspiration, the true people who inspired this book. The MS St. Louis is a real ship that took a real voyage. Gratz explains it in the afterward, but most familiar with the Holocaust already know the story. Gratz made that Josef’s sorry. He took inspiration from photos of the Syrian refugee crisis to create a character in Mahmoud’s story.

It was just so, so poignant. I needed to just process after finishing before I could review. All I can say is READ THIS FANTASTIC BOOK. The reading level is targeted at middle readers, but this is a book everyone should read and enjoy. Ruta Sepetys is quoted on the front cover with this review, and I couldn’t agree more: “Some novels are engaging and some novels are important. Refugee is both.” Yes, emphatic yes.
Profile Image for Tracy.
228 reviews2 followers
November 28, 2020
I couldn't stop reading this book. It was emotionally challenging to keep going at times, but I had become so invested in the journeys of the three main characters, each refugee children from different places in different eras, that I just had to keep going to find out what happened to them. As an ESL teacher who works with lots of refugee children, some parts were especially difficult to read knowing that my students had probably endured similar situations. There is a bit of a twist in the end. Some may see the twist as a bit contrived (maybe) but I loved it. And I will say that though this book is technically a young adult book, nothing felt watered down, and everything felt real.

**reread 11-28-20 for a book club and loved it just as much as the first time. This time that part that resonated with me the most was in Mahmoud’s story where the narrator says “It was better to be visible. To stand up. To stand out.” In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, this statement seems more universal than ever.
Profile Image for Jillian Heise.
2,319 reviews482 followers
September 4, 2017
Powerful story of the refugee experience throughout time. A book that will build empathy. I appreciated the short chapters alternating between the three different characters/time periods that built suspense and created parallels in the stories.
10 reviews3 followers
August 31, 2019
In the book Refugee by Alan Gratz we are introduced to our three protagonist. Josef a Jewish boy living in the 1930's trying to escape the Holocaust and the threats of concentration camps. Isabel is Cuban girl in the years of 1994 during the dictator ship of Castro, she wants to escape the constant riots and famines in her country. Finally we are introduced to Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015. He and his family want to run away from their homeland being torn apart by violence and mass destruction. These three different kids in three different corners of the world have one desire only: escape! Further on in this book all three kids are set on agonizing journeys to seek refuge. They are all faced with unthinkable menace and pain and sorrow that will always leave a scar. Getting to where they want to is a very obscure bath full of unthinkable challenges on the way. The one question they always wonder is: if they'll make it? This book is an extraordinary book in my opinion. The reason behind this is because I'm not really a big fan of books that relate to historic events. However this book is not only about events that have occurred, this book is able to bring you on the same adventure as the characters are going through. This book is much more then just history, its an adventure. This book was able to leave me sitting at the edge of my seat while at the same time letting me to have an understanding of history and how it was back then. In this book you are able to interact with the characters based on how detail this book is. I would really recommend this book to anyone in general, however especially to adventure lovers. I hope one of you can find time to read this book since it really changed the way I thought about historic books.
Profile Image for K..
3,796 reviews1,021 followers
September 25, 2018
Trigger warnings: refugee stories, war, bombings, violence, death, mental health, antisemitism, blood.

Ow, my feelings. This book was pretty freaking phenomenal. It's either middle grade or early YA, and it tells the story of three children from different countries at different times, all of whom become refugees. Josef is growing up Jewish in Germany in 1939. Isabel is Cuban in 1994. And Mahmoud is Syrian in 2015. All three of them undergo different yet equally traumatic experiences. The language is simple a lot of the time, but all three stories were effectively and compellingly told.

I particularly loved the way all three stories ultimately wove together, showing that there's always a new wave of refugees, there's always SOMEONE who's forced to flee their home. I also really appreciated the maps at the end, showing each of their three journeys, along with Gratz's notes about the ship Josef sailed on having been real and that various characters he comes across on board were based on real people.

Does it sanitise the refugee experience for young, predominantly white readers? Sure. But that doesn't make it any less engaging a story. The chapters are short, there's plenty of action, and I honestly think this would be great as a year 6 literature circle book/class text, as there's tons to discuss and a lot of important stuff for kids to know about.

Basically? I loved this and the ending made me cry.
Profile Image for Kiera.
352 reviews117 followers
October 28, 2018
This book was really good. It was such a page turner! I was super engaged throughout the whole thing. I would definitely recommend this book.
It just shows that the world is such a friggin mess and how depressing it is!
No child should ever have to go through what these kids did. It breaks my heat to know that these stories were some people's reality. We need more love in this world. I applaud Alan Gratz for writing this book and educating so many people about these characters and their stories.
Sorry this review is so short, I have a HUGE headache and I have other books I need to read.
Overall five stars. I enjoyed this book even though it tore me apart at parts.
Profile Image for Annabelle.H.
13 reviews10 followers
October 10, 2018
I love this book a lot it is in my top 3 favorite books, I love how it has 3 different sides and in some way all connect. I could recommend this book to anyone weather you like this genre or not. I think the ending in really surprising, I did not expect it at all. Love the style and how the book it set up.
Profile Image for Tova.
636 reviews
January 1, 2022
Reread review: 4.5

Original Review:
This book is important. The world is a fucking mess, and it makes me quite depressed. No child should experience any of things that Josef, Ruthie, Isabel, Mahmoud, Waleed or Hanna had to see or go through, but the thing is, that people do every single do. The most depressing story was by far Mahmoud's because it is so real right now. Every day, even now while I write this, people are dying, getting blown up, or losing people they care about. It's a travesty, and people need to read this book and realize what is happening. I am not okay, and this is not okay. You cannot expect me to write a review, at least not for a while. I'm crying. Thank you, Alan Gratz, for writing this, you deserve some kind of award for this.
Profile Image for Emilie | La prof de français.
625 reviews193 followers
February 10, 2022
Je suis sans mot. Pendant près de 10 ans j’ai travaillé auprès des jeunes réfugiés allophones de mon école. Des Josef, des Isabel et des Mahmoud, j’en ai connu des dizaines.. je les ai accueillis, je leur ai enseigné et je les ai aimés. Je suis sans mot de lire leur histoire. Parce que bien que j’ai côtoyé de nombreux migrants, ils sont généralement très pudiques de leur parcours migratoire. En commençant leur 3e vie, j’ai l’impression qu’ils mettaient de côté leurs précédentes.

Ce roman est incroyable, je ne peux pas croire que je ne l’avais pas lu auparavant. La fin est complètement bouleversante, j’ai pleuré à chaudes larmes.

Tout le monde DOIT lire Réfugiés
Profile Image for Aileen H.
74 reviews3 followers
August 19, 2017
I will have both my 7th and 9th grade children read this book. I will help them see how Gratz skillfully interwove events and stories to show how history has been repeating itself and how we have to be aware of these refugees' stories and support change.
17 reviews
July 3, 2019

Did I read a different book than everyone else?? Because the book I read was not "magnificent" or "heart-wrenching" or "hands-down the most important upper middle grade book of the year." The book I read was definitely not the Alan Gratz I know and love, who produced "Ban this Book" (amazing!) or "Projekt 1065" (TERRIFIC!!!). The book I read had tons of flaws. For starters, three different perspectives was too much. The rotating chapters between them were so short, that I would just be getting into Isabel's story, then all of a sudden, I'm reading about Mahmoud with no warning. The short chapters made it so I couldn't connect with the characters, but who can connect with a character in 5 pages?? And the perspective writing itself was not adequate. It was all written in 3rd person, which made the writing extremely choppy with no flow. Not to mention, for everyone to be separated by entire decades and live in three different places on the globe, there was no distinction. My biggest problem was with the dialogue. You can't tell me that a boy from 1938 would use the exact same language that a boy from 2015 uses. As decades pass by, people slowly change their speech. I'd think that someone from 1938 might use more professional words than someone from 2015. But nope. All the characters used the exact same speech. I could also argue that they all had the exact same character traits. I mean, it'd be okay if they're similar, but similar is different than identical. But I won't get into that. Also, if I were you, I wouldn't be too hyped up for the "shocking" connections at the end. I could have predicted them from page 100. If I were you, I'd skip over this book, and land on Gratz's finest, like "Projekt 1065" and "Ban this Book."
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