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Diamonds in the Shadow

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,396 Ratings  ·  188 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
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Paperback, 228 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by WaterBrook (first published September 11th 2007)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

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
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Kellee
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
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Jack
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschool
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
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Delia
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mary
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
Ben
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm really not normally in to stories like this, as I'm more familiar and accustomed to the travel side of things rather than the touching refugee story. This is both in one. Mopsy and Jared got exceedingly annoying at first, but their maturation process upon the arrival of Matu, Celeste and the others is very noteworthy. Cooney's realism is stunning, what with the use of grandma's ashes as carriers for blood diamonds.
Cal Malone
Sep 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jean
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jon has provided us with the experience of having his African friends over at Christmas...and once we attended an African fireside with him that was entirely in French (a language that I do not speak). However, this book takes the hospitality a step further by following the lives of an American family who opens their home to African refugees. Gratitude is too weak a word for what we should feel as Americans who are so blessed with the amazing extent of prosperity and peace we have compared to a ...more
Tina
Aug 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-summer
Jared Finch is informed by his parents that he must share his home and room with refugees from Africa. Jared can't believe this is happening to him - the church needs to figure out something else! After meeting the refugees, Jared wonders if they are really the family they are suppose to be - they don't seem to act like any family Jared knows. Mattu has come to America carrying 2 shoeboxes - he tells the family that they contain the ashes of his grandparents, but Jared quickly figures out that h ...more
Courtney
well, i can't say that i've read a book that covers this particular subject matter. and it is handled well, without proselytizing or avoiding any of the really tough emotional issues involved with refugees from war-torn countries. that being said, the ending was way too tidy for my taste. bad guy dies, good guys live, happily ever after. strikes me as classic caroline cooney (whom i haven't read since middle school) novel that uses the thriller genre to bring attention to a wide variety of issue ...more
Mrs. Pauly
If you are a mystery lover, Caroline Cooney can write a good mystery and she has a sleu of them. In Diamonds in the Shadow, the Finch family and their church volunteer to assist an African Refugee family in coming to America. Soon, the son, Jared Finch, starts to realize that this family may not be who they seem. He is trying to give them the benefit of the doubt because their country is in the middle of a civil war and the refugees have seen horrific things. But should he discard his intuition ...more
Heather
Jul 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2008, teen
When the church's apartment falls through, Jared Finch is horrified to learn that his family will be hosting a family of refugees from Africa. No one asked him if he wanted to share his room with a complete stranger. The refugees have all been scarred by the horrors of civil war, and inadvertently put the Finch's in danger.

Very captivating, the plot line moves quickly and danger is always just around the corner. Remember reading the Face on the Milk Carton?--same author, same great suspense.
1 Kara
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a mystery, by Caroline B. Cooney, the same author as "The Face on the Milk Carton". It is about 5 African Refugee's that come to America, but the papers say that only four plan to attend in the Finches house. They don't know why the phone rings and freak out when someone knocks on the door. What are they so scared about? Another mystery is the teenage boy, who's supposedly only luggage is his dead grandparents ashes......What are the Finches going to do? Who is the 5th African Refug ...more
Lana Tessler
In Mrs. Tessler's Room: Culture Shock

Surprisingly irritating to start - the main character is an obnoxious little twerp for the first few chapters and I found him, even for a teenager, surprisingly obnoxious and uncaring. After that, however, this book absolutely devoured me due to the plight of the African family that moves in with Jared's family. The characters are interesting and realistic with a great deal of pathos. The puzzles slowly come together through the book, silhouetted on a backdro
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Sherrie

This is another of the Florida SSYRA (Sunshine State Young Reader Award) books for next year's 6th to 8th graders. This book is a little heavy, featuring elements of African civil war, blood diamonds, religious doubt, embezzlement and a murderous refugee forcing other Africans to take on false identities as they seek asylum in the USA. The last quarter of the book is full of tension and suspence, which makes up for a slow beginning. Struggling readers may be put off by the pace of the book, but
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Michelle
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super interesting tale, I have always enjoyed Caroline B Cooney's work. She has a way with her stories that makes it interesting. This is a unique story however, I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

The Amabo family immigrates from an African refuge camp. The Finch family opens their home to them, and tries to help them settle into their new life. The Finch family children realize that something is amiss but the parents both manage to miss it somehow. When Jared (the son) starts to realize what
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Jane
Jul 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With all the publicity of "conflict diamonds" and child soldiers in several African countries, this book can heighten the social awareness of adolescents who are clueless about world events. A well-meaning American family hosts four people from Africa whom they assume are a family unit. The four achieve varying degrees of adaptation to their new environment, but can't shake their fear of being followed. Turns out they are carrying diamonds for a war criminal who has them in his terrifying thrall ...more
Amii
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were holes in the story that I had a hard time getting past. For example, how do kids just show up at school with refugees and there is no enrollment procedure? I struggled through this book but was relatively happy with the ending.
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.
Fritzi
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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Bruce
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libs-678
Pairing with Son of a Gun
Diamonds In The Shadow
Realistic Fiction

Pairing
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.

Audience
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.

SOL
WHII.16 Th
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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
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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
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Ryan Leff
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Raegan
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that "Diamonds in the Shadow" was a very interesting book. In the beginning I couldn't get in to it like I did with the last book I read by Caroline B. Cooney. Towards the middle I was hooked! I couldn't put the book down even if I tried too. Cooney has a very unique style of writing which I love. The only thing I wish was better was the beginning. She could've added a little background about the Finch family, but other than that I loved it and I definitely recommend.
Chelsea
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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missdoctor.fmalchemist Ps130ES
Caroline B Cooney does it again! (in my opinion) ______SPOILERS AHEAD______
The first of her books I ever read was If The Witness Lied. I love that Cooney doesn't shy away from difficult story matter. Not many people can write about murder and make the reader feel guilty.

Many people have cited this book for being unrealistic. "There's no way they would have gotten into the country in the first place with that kind of paperwork"(you really think so? have you seen the news recently?) Perhaps, but
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Zakaria Faid


The Finches' are an ordinary family living in Connecticut that undergo a very strange and unexpected yet mysterious experience. They were given a refugee family that immigrated from Liberia and Seychelles by their local church. Despite their knowledge of the upcoming visit ahead of time, the Finches' continued to live as if the visit would take place any minute. Subsequently, the Finches' happiness was replaced by such grand unfairness and surprise to the conditions in which the Amabo family was
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LeAnne
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 dont 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 doesnt come into t ...more
Sharon
Oct 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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More about Caroline B. Cooney...
“In a civil war,” he said gently, “people forget that they are people. Next they forget anyone else is a person. They forget how to be kind. They learn to hurt. In our wars, they might execute you, but usually they chop hands off, so that you suffer before you die. If you live, you are helpless and must depend on others.” 0 likes
“Jared never prayed, because the idea of a loving God seemed out of sync with the facts of the world.” 0 likes
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