Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Colombiano” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,326 ratings  ·  400 reviews
In Colombia you have to pick a side. Or one will be picked for you . . .

All Pedro Gutiérrez cares about is fishing, playing pool and his girlfriend Camila’s promise to sleep with him on his sixteenth birthday. But his life is ripped apart when Guerrilla soldiers callously execute his father in front of him, and he and his mother are banished from their farm.

Swearing vengea
Paperback, 689 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Bantam
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Colombiano, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Rusty Young Garbanzos is loosely based around San Jose de Guaviare and Puerto Princesa on Mapiripan... thanks for your question!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,326 ratings  ·  400 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Colombiano
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Wow! What a powerful story this is, depicting as it does the conflict between the army and opposing Guerrilla groups in Colombia, and in particular it features the child soldiers who were either forced into joining these groups or had very good reason for committing their lives to such a violent cause. Though fictional, author Rusty Young’s Colombiano is based on interviews that he conducted with child soldiers, and he draws on his own life experiences too, having worked undercove
Kylie D
A powerful novel, set in Colombia, reliving the conflict of army vs guerilla vs drug lords, etc. You get the drift. It follows two and a half years of the life of child soldier Pedro, who is forced to watch the murder of his father at the hands of guerillas on his family farm, then, wracked with guilt, he enlists with terrorist organisation the Autodefencas to fight the guerillas when he is only fifteen.

We follow Pedro and his best friend Palillo as they go through their training, and start to r
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that's packed with a real right-hook. I expected a documentary-style book outlining the research and feedback Rusty Young had gathered from the many interviews and investigations he had undertaken in the region, especially with the real-life Child Soldiers. Not the case!

Colombiano is a novel styled book which is cleverly written, it is engrossing and absorbing with shocking revelations. The story is based on a fictional character, Pedro (probably an amalgamation of several people
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a novel that I will remember but I will not reread it at any time in the future. I appreciate the Author's effort to present Columbia most complicated times under FARC. I followed the news regarding this organzation and the brutality of life under its terror, however, this novel opened my eyes to the crude reality that prevailed in those days and what impact it had on ordinary people. The novel tells a story of a boy, Pedro, who, seeking revenge for his father's murder turns into a cruel ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Gritty, Raw, Powerful, Captivating, Thought provoking and gut wrenching.

What happens when you really don't have a choice? What happens when choices are made for you? What happens when your life changes in an instant? What happens when you make a simple decision and it changes your life and outlook.

Pedro Gutiérrez is a happy teenager living in Columbia. He spends his days going to school, fishing, spending time with his best friend, Palillo and his girlfriend, Camilla. His world instantly changes
Elyse  Walters
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Captivating from start to finish!
“The war was like a slow burning campfire onto which both sides occasionally threw wood. And that’s probably the way it would’ve continued, if not for the arrival of the
Autodefensas”. ( United Self-Defenders of Colombia).

The campaign against organize crime in Columbia, has caused a violent response, increasing vulnerability of the civilian population due to the skirmishes between the organizations and the federal forces.

Author Rusty Young, Australian born, was
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great big book.


Is it a great-big book or a great big-book? That's debatable.

Despite the short chapters, it still reads like a great-big book which makes for a less than great big-book.

For me to really enjoy a great-big book I need to connect with the characters on a cellular level. I felt no investment in Pedro and his plight to avenge his father's murder and that disconnect lies solely in the lap of the authors inability to humanize this young character.

This is a fascinating
Sara Rebotim
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would like to thank Haverlock & Baker Publishing, and the author - Rusty Young, for the opportunity to review this title

I have given the book a rating of 3 stars. I was very excited and couldn't wait to start reading, but unfortunately.... it's not my style of genre.

I felt the book focused too much on describing character backstories and less time focusing on keeping the story interesting for the reader.
This book was so far out of my comfort zone that I wasn't sure I should read it, but I'm so very glad I did. The author, Rusty Young, did an excellent job of making the character, Pedro, someone I cared about. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Pedro, his friends, family, and the other people in his life.

Until I read this book, then watched some videos and read other material, I had very little understanding about the massive use of children to fight civil wars in Columbia. This story
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 bright stars for a very long(819 pages) book. The author was an undercover agent for the U.S. Government. He was assisting the Colombian Government's anti terrorist operations. During this time he interviewed many former soldiers from FARC, the Communist guerrilla organization, and AUC, the right wing paramilitary organization.
FARC has waged war against the government for 50 years or more. Both they and AUC draft child soldiers as young as 8 years old. The civil war is vicious and cruel. Both
Sumit RK
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it

You have to pick a side. Or one will be picked for You. .

Set in Colombia, Colombiano is an epic story of revenge and vengeance. Blending fact and fiction, Colombiano narrates the story of a teenager Pedro Gutiérrez whose life is ripped apart when Guerrilla soldiers callously execute his father in front of his eyes and he and his mother are banished from their farm. Swearing vengeance against the five men responsible, Pedro, with his best friend Palillo, joins an illegal Paramilitary group, where
Andy Marr
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
For the most part, this fact-meets-fiction account of the civil war between the army and opposing Guerrilla forces in 21st-century Colombia, and particularly the role of child soldiers in the conflict, was a powerful and well-written book. With its themes of loss, revenge, cruelty, betrayal and corruption, it kept my attention from start to finish, which is no mean feat for a story that runs to almost 700 pages. In fact, I feel almost guilty giving the book only 4 stars, but a few elements preve ...more
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-books
Colombiano by Rusty Young is a story you will not soon forget. This is a work of fiction though the horrors of the Colombian civil war and its aftermath are part of history. The author worked in Colombia with the Anti-Kidnapping Program in a country that averaged eight kidnappings per day. While in-country, he interviewed the child soldiers on both sides of the war and these are the basis of this novel. Pedro, a fifteen-year-old boy, witnessed the execution of his father, by guerillas. He was ex ...more
jv poore
You can’t truly know what someone else is going through without walking in his shoes. Unless Mr. Young writes about it. In Colombiano, those of us fortunate enough to be far removed from any war zone, see exactly what living amid battles entails; in day-to-day life, as well the overall impact it has on absolutely everything.

Certainly, most people know that the Guerilla evoke evil with their aggressive cocaine manufacturing and distribution. The gross misunderstanding is that the Guerilla are fig
Ujjawal Sureka
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, 5-star
Genre: Biography, War, Terrorism, Violence, Morality.
Publication Date: August 2017

The book is captivating at first glance. The terrorist atmosphere of Columbia has always been fascinating, with people(children and adult alike) being at constant warfare and fighting to live another day.

The strory revolves around the lead, Pedro Gutierrez, an innocent child, who's happy and fun life is turned 180 when his religious and peace loving father is killed by a group of terrorists. In the immediate fit o
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
“...what sort of justice can exist in such a corrupt, hypocritical system?”

5 stunningly powerful stars!

Tension-filled. Eye-opening. Pulse-pounding. Suspenseful. Gut-wrenching. Unforgettable.

Growing up in Colombia, Pedro is only fifteen years old when he is forced to watch guerrilla soldiers execute his father. Vowing to seek revenge, he joins the Paramilitaries where he spends the next two and a half years hunting his fathers killers. Based on Pedro’s real life story, this book details the tor
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Colombiano is an account of the horrific violence endured by the citizens of Colombia in their decades old civil war fought between the government and the socialist terrorist organization FARC. There are paramilitary groups also involved who are supposedly on the side of the government, but are really just another set of terrorists, as illustrated by this novel.

A young boy named Pedro is the main character, who having watched his father be executed by FARC, determines to kill the men who did it.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, best-of-2019
There are books I loved, but forgot about them in a few weeks. And then there are books I loved and won't be able to forget for a long time. Colombiano definitely belongs to the latter category. Even though it is a work of fiction, it is based on a true conflict in Colombia between the comunist Guerillas and opposing Paramilitaries. The author interviewed numerous former child soldiers whose tragic stories are told in the book.

Pedro is a 15 year old boy who lives on a farm in Llorona, Colombia,
Columbiano is a fast paced thriller about 15 year old Pedro Gutierrez who witnesses the execution of his father by ruthless Guerrilla soldiers. Like many other child soldiers in Columbia he joins opposing forces to seek retribution for his father’s death.

The book is well researched and very informative. Rusty Young shows this world of violence, crime, corruption, and drugs through his own experiences in Columbia. I would have liked to see the book with far less pages.

3 out of 5 stars

Many thanks
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: y-a, cultural
Based on true events, this story of revenge, betrayal, and corruption follows the fictional character Pedro. Growing up in Llorona, a war-torn land who makes good on the promise to kill those who snitch, Pedro witnesses the murder of his father. At fifteen years old, going on sixteen, he joins the Autodefensas in order to extract revenge on the Guerillas who killed his father. However, his alliance with the Autodefensas creates conflicts in his relationships. It truly is a great story with remar ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing

***most deserving 5 star rating I have ever given***

"Nevertheless, right then and there, I resolved that one day I'd tell my life story to someone who would be willing to publish it. I know I've done terrible things - killed people and even worse. I know I've lied to those I love. But people need to know that this is not a lie. The things I've witnessed with these eyes - these stories I'm telling you - they're too horrible for anyone to invent. This is the truth about Colombia and I want peo
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author-requested
This book was so exciting. I was at the edge of my seat heart racing during most of the book. It does have some gruesome parts which was expected. I don't know about you all but it's easier for me to read it than see it. The writing was exceptional. The moment I got to the end of a chapter and thought I could put the book down, there was an interesting chapter lead in. How did he know? Anyways, I highly recommend this book. You won't regret it (or less you're really squeamish) ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Based on the true struggles of the country of Colombia to rid itself of the drug.
Child soldiers recruited to fight other teenagers in one big cycle of interconnected violence in a struggle for power, financed by cocaine trafficking. The innocent, and not so innocent people of Columbia were caught in the middle of a war between the drug lords, traffickers, police, army and the paramilitary groups.
And yet a love story blooms on this battlefield . . .


A typical teenager dreams of having a lovely gir
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review to come.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Colombiano is a riveting look at Colombia, South America following the reign of terror of drug lord Pablo Escobar and the Medellin with the illegal trafficking of cocaine and all of the associated crime and human carnage and devastation. Rusty Young is from Australia and was in Colombia for four years secretly working for the government of the United States in Colombia. It was during this time that he became aware of the shocking stories of the child soldiers and he vowed that one day he would t ...more
Colombiano is a big book, a very big book both in length and scope, but don’t let the page count or the topic put you off. It’s a well written, wholly absorbing account of a boy soldier’s experience of the guerilla/paramilitary warfare that nearly ripped apart and destroyed Colombia.

Pedro Gutiérrez was only fifteen when he watched guerrilla soldiers march into his family’s farm and kill his father, a good and honest man. Vowing revenge and too young to join the army, Pedro and his friend Palillo
“When I was eight, the boy I’d sat next to in class was hit by a truck. Devastated, I refused to go to school. But knowing there had been a time before our friendship made it possible to imagine a time after. A parent is different. There is no time before a parent. A parent is always.”

This is a long, terrifying look at the worst of the disaster that awaits those in Colombia who dare to cross the . . . well, the army, the Guerrillas, or the paramilitary vigilantes that form a third force. All
Carolyn Walsh
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many thanks to NetGalley and Havelock & Baker for providing me with this engrossing, intense ARC in return for an honest review. This was a powerful epic which featured violence, family devotion, moral choices, young love, and a country ripped apart.

I found the story informative and was totally absorbed. I had been in Colombia a very short time in a small town on the Amazon, but my knowledge of the country was severely limited. I knew a bit about Pablo Escobar from Netflix, and how the country
Whispering Stories
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book Reviewed on

Author Rusty Young having worked for the US government in Columbia was shocked by the stories of child soldiers and vowed he write a book about their tales and Colombiano is just that.

This is a very harrowing book about a young lad, Pedro Gutiérrez, whose world was changed by the killing of his Papa and him seeking revenge. Not all of Pedro’s decisions were right but reading how things were at that time in the rural villages; people being held ransom, dr
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Its strange to think that a quick decision taken in the heat of a single moment could change the course of a boys life".

And that one quote sums up 700 pages of text.

This is the story for Pedro and his friends, all teenagers, all for various reasons are tangled up in war funded by cocaine, criminals and the corrupt. This is the story of how ruthless human beings can be.

I haven't read much on Colombia and from the first chapter I was pulled in, this book is so readable the words flow as easily a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Weight of a Moment
  • The Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare
  • Snowing in Bali
  • Hotel Kerobokan
  • The Damage Done: Twelve Years of Hell in a Bangkok Prison
  • Big Bad
  • What Lies Between Us
  • A Caller's Game
  • Everything My Mother Taught Me
  • Hunger for Life
  • When Money Dies: The Nightmare Of The Weimar Hyper Inflation
  • The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel
  • Under Pressure (Lucas Page, #2)
  • Asylum Road
  • Body of Stars
  • Letters from Berlin
  • Hitler's New Shower: Opiates Made 'Clear'
  • When She Was Good (Cyrus Haven, #2)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Rusty Young (born 1975) is the Australian-born author of the international bestseller Marching Powder, the true story of an English drug smuggler in Bolivia’s notorious San Pedro Prison and the bestselling novel, Colombiano, a fact-meets-fiction revenge thriller about a Colombian boy who sets out to avenge his father’s death.

Rusty grew up in Sydney, and studied Finance and Law at the University o

Related Articles

If you've got an overflowing Want to Read shelf of books that you keep meaning to get to (one day!), you're in good company. Our company, that...
127 likes · 46 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Part of being a man is doing what is right, no matter what people think of you. That is the sacrifice you must make.” 11 likes
“The war was like a slow-burning campfire onto which both sides occasionally threw wood. And that’s probably the way it would have continued, if not for the arrival of the Autodefensas.” 4 likes
More quotes…