Gardens of Water

Gardens of Water, by Alan Drewgardens of

This book is not written for young adults but I think that well-read teens would like it, particularly girls. I say well-read because it takes place in Turkey and is primarily about a political and a family reality very different from that in our western culture. The abundance of new information might overwhelm those with less reading experience.

That said, this story maintains a finely tuned and relentless sense of conflict and imminent danger that many teens like. In addition, one of the central themes is the seemingly inevitable tangle of cross-purposes that parents and their teenage children pass through. Another is the confluence of the adolescent drive for independence and the first stirrings of romantic love. An unfamiliar setting for familiar themes offers perspective that thoughtful teens will enjoy.

Finally, the overriding theme of this novel is the potential for subtle but lethal cruelty when cultures intertwine but lack sufficient empathy or understanding. Today’s teens will likely encounter more interchange with foreign cultures during their lives than  previous generations have; with this book, they will begin to learn more about their world.

Intense and thought provoking, this story is, however, quite sad and scary. It would not be a book to give someone who needs to be cheered up. Rather, it would be a good book for confident teen readers who have a hunger to know more about other parts of the world, and in the process, more about themselves.

Gaby Chapman

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Filed under 9-12 Grade, Enjoyable for parents, Historical Fiction

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