Book Review: Code of Honor by Alan Gratz
I will honestly never tire of an Alan Gratz read guys (be sure to check the tags at the bottom of this post for reviews of some of his other books!)
Sixteen year old Kamron Smiths life has been turned upside down when his Army Ranger older brother is found to have deserted his post in Afghanistan and has shown up on a video of a terrorist attack on an American Embassy in Turkey. Taken from his home in the middle of the night with his parents (American father and Persian-American mother) he is whisked away to a top secret CIA holding facility and interrogated for months on end. Was his brother a Muslim? Did he ever talk about hating America? Was he radicalized by their mother? How did he respond after 9/11? Etc, etc. Kamron is certain his brother would never betray his county, the two lived by their own code of honor, and killing Americans and turning his back on his country just wasn’t part of that. After watching videos of his brother posted online, ones in which he condemns America and warns of terrorist acts to come, Kamron realizes his brother is sending him codes- secret codes tapped into their shared bedroom wall as kids and gathered from make believe games they played as kids. Can Kamron convince the CIA that his brother isn’t a terrorist and figure out the clues his brother is leaving for him? A terrorist plot is looming and time is running out to stop it.
Gratz has such a compelling way of turning history and politics into something engaging and enthralling to read about. Not only is this book full of action, suspense, and misdirection but it touches on important topics like racism, PTSD, and nationalism in a way that is not only authentic to the plot line, but is informative and educational. While this read doesn’t have the history that his other reads contain (being that it is set in present day)- this fictionalized account of how an Iranian American family deals with the effects of racism is an important topic in itself. Many of us reflect on 9/11 and remember seeing a country united. People lining up to donate blood, giving money to the Red Cross, etc. but this was not the experience of many Muslims and people of Middle Eastern decent. People, like Kamrons family, were looked at with suspicion, feared, and even outright assaulted – all because they shared a religion or home country with individuals who committed horrible atrocities. This book touches on that impact in a way that was both honest and raw.
Kids and adults alike would enjoy this read and like I said, I will happily read anything Gratz puts out!
Until next week friends!