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Author: Massey, David
Publisher: Chicken House
Year Published: 2014
ISBN: 9780545661287
Grades: Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, Grade 8, Grade 9

Taken

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Launching from Cape town a crew of six teenagers, four disabled veterans along with two “able bodied” assistants, plan to sail around the world to raise money for children in war torn countries and to prove that their disabilities don’t define them.  But one week into their trip the crew is taken hostage by machine gun carrying child soldiers and their boat destroyed.  What follows is a grueling test both physically and mentally as the crew – some with prosthetic limbs, skin grafts, and infected burns – is forced to march across Tanzania into the jungles of the Congo by the brutal (but fictional) second-in-command of the Lord’s Resistance Army.   As the captured crew spend more time watching and observing the child soldiers, one girl in particular that Rio dubs the Empty Child, they start to see the the fear and doubt that the children have and with that maybe a means to escape.  Narrated by Rio Cruz, one of the able bodied assistants, Taken is a book brimming with intensity and suspense.  Though Massey never goes into great detail about the atrocities that are committed each situation feels completely real with the possibility of imminent brutality or death.  Taken is a high stakes life or death adventure that readers won’t be able to put down.

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