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Author: Sullivan, Tara
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Year Published: 2016
ISBN: 9780399173073
Grades: Grades 7 to 12

The Bitter Side of Sweet

Reviewed by:

Tara Sullivan, the award-winning author of the  Golden Boy, delivers another powerful, riveting, and moving tale of children fighting to make a difference and be counted. Inspired by true-to-life events happening right now, The Bitter Side of Sweet is an exquisitely written tour de force not to be missed.
Two Malian boys, Amadou 11 and Seydou 6, look for paid work during a time of famine and find themselves enslaved on a cocoa plantation. Two years and many beatings later their only concern is survival when a 13 year-old girl Kadija is delivered to the bosses and refuses to do anything but fight to escape. Her determination set in motion a series of events that lead the three to a daring attempt at escape.
The issue of child labour in the chocolate industry is clear throughout the novel, but is weaved within the storytelling. Readers will come away more knowledgeable about modern-day slavery, child labour and the chocolate industry and might even want to research the issues further for themselves.
Highly recommended, especially in a classroom setting.
“A tender, harrowing story of family, friendship, and the pursuit of freedom.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“In crisp, accessible prose, Sullivan draws readers into a most compelling story of survival under unspeakable hardship, bravery, and teamwork… Absorbing and important.”—Booklist, starred review 
“[A] heart-wrenching survival tale.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An engaging story that will engender empathy in readers.”—School Library Journal, starred review
“Curriculum connections abound and even reluctant readers will be drawn to the suspenseful plot and distinctive characters.”—SLC, starred review

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