Diamonds in the ShadowDiamonds in the Shadow
By Caroline Clooney
Published by Random House Children’s Books

“Cooney’s Connecticut church has sponsored war refugee families, and her stirring teen novel neither sensationalizes nor minimizes the brutality of their experiences.” –Hazel Rochman, Booklist

“Although a work of fiction, it is the kind of story that will give readers pause to consider the world outside their neighborhood comfort zone” –Pat Trattles, Children’s Literature

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Description
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 in great hope as they have escaped the tyranny of Africa. What the Finch Family doesn’t know is that there are not just four refugees in this Amabo family, but five.

As the Amabo family, who have suffered unimaginable horrors, begin to adjust to a life of plenty in the Finches’ suburban Connecticut home, and the Finches are learning new lessons of “The Golden Rule”. The life adjustment for all seems flawless.

But the fifth refugee does not believe in good will. This lawless rebel has managed to enter America undetected. And the Amabo family has something of his–something that they agreed to carry into the country for him.

When Jared, the oldest Finch son, realizes that the good guys are not always innocent, he must make a decision that could change the fates of both the Finches and the Amabos. In this uncommonly penetrating story, Caroline B. Cooney presents a fresh perspective on how doing what is right can be most difficult.

Reviews & Accolades
Cooney brilliantly contrasts the horror of Africa’s civil wars with the overwhelming abundance and naivety of American suburban life. Jared’s narcissism, selfishness, and racism disintegrate when he confronts true evil. How families mysteriously bond and care for one another is examined under the dramatic circumstances of two disparate groups trying to make things work. When Jared learns that Mattu never heard of the Holocaust, he is astonished. But, Mattu tells him, “We have those in Africa. I have been in one.” Indeed, more than 60 years later, we are learning about ever-new Holocausts.”–Lillian Hecker, School Library Journal

Cooney’s Connecticut church has sponsored war refugee families, and her stirring teen novel neither sensationalizes nor minimizes the brutality of their experiences. Her story unfolds through the alternating narratives of the American teens in a host family and African refugee teens, who can’t forget what happened even as they adjust to their new surroundings and try to convince themselves they will eventually find a safe home…tension mounts in a novel that combines thrilling suspense and a story about innocence lost.” –Hazel Rochman, Booklist

“Cooney has done an outstanding job of contrasting the horrors of African civil war with the relative abundance and complacency of suburban America. Although a work of fiction, it is the kind of story that will give readers pause to consider the world outside their neighborhood comfort zone, making it a great complement to high school social studies curricula and an important addition to high school reading lists.” –Pat Trattles, Children’s Literature

Another teeth-clenching thriller from Cooney, this one with a social conscience…Cooney builds suspense by telling readers more than the almost incredibly naive Finch family knows, setting up plot points wherein they’ll know just what’s going to happen, and then fooling them. She highlights the horrible conditions that have forced the decent Amabos to become less than honest as the looming danger of the real villain, on his way to collecting uncut diamonds the Amabos have smuggled into the country, moves the story forward. Affections, loyalties and a basic Christian message of love and redemption emerge as Cooney tempers her readers’ anxiety with a measure of understanding while building to her climactic showdown.” –Kirkus Reviews

Groups Represented
Sierra Leonean
Various African nationalities

Themes
Immigration, child soldiers, trauma, family relationships, family death, community, religious faith

Setting
Connecticut

Author Research
TBA

Engagement Projects
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