Happy Friday, guys!
(It's Friday, right? Time's passing by so quickly, I'm no longer sure!)
Today, we are reviewing the extraordinary City of Saints and Thieves. It's an extraordinary tale, and to quote someone else - if this is an example of what is to come in 2017, we're in for some great literature!
Read on for more + a giveaway!
Published January 24th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Format read: ARC via publisher
Amazon | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill's personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.
With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.
After actually reading the book itself, I absolutely have to agree. Natalie Anderson has written not only an intriguing tale, but a timely and necessary one. Given what is currently going on in our political climate at the moment, Anderson's book sheds light into places and corners that we need to see.
Tina's journey is a harrowing one, built on the foundations of revenge and survival. Anderson sets her up in an almost impossible situation in the fictionalized city of Sangui City, where a desperation to right wrongs is the order of the day. But as Tina works for a street gang and plots a long-term revenge against the person whom she believes killed her mother, she becomes entangled even further in a complicated world.
What's fascinating about Anderson's book, is that it realistically depicts a teenager who is driven to do bold, borderline reckless things, in the name of justice and the truth. This is a girl who doesn't commit to bad behavior for the sake of being bad - something that occasionally happens in YA - but more a girl who pushes herself to extraordinary lengths, in the hopes of finding some peace with the world, and with herself.
It's a compelling, gritty study at just what many are forced to do in situations that many of us are not exposed to, and though it may sound trite to say this: I applaud Anderson for not only writing a thrilling book, but a book that forces us to judge who we are, our situations, and how we can better relate to those who are in far more difficult situations.
Though the book plays out against a fictionalized world, there is a very real truth to Anderson's portrayal of the Congo, and even the relationships that dictate the innerworkings of a complex world. Tina is bolstered by supporting characters who push her and challenge her cause, and this is the type of book that we read, and ultimately makes us better in the end.
All in all: Anderson's book sets a precedent for contemporary fiction, and a high bar for literature to come in 2017. Highly recommend, full stop. This is a must-read for everyone.
Check out the rest of the tour:
1/16 – Margie’s Must Reads – Review
1/17 – Children’s Book Review – Guest Post
1/18 – YA Wednesdays – Favorite Quotes
1/19 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Interview
1/20 – The Moral of our Stories – Review
1/23 – Oh the Book Feels – Review
1/24 – Bibliophile Gathering –Guest Post
1/25 – A Page with a View – Interview
1/26 – Icey Books – Quote Candy
1/27 – Reading Nook Reviews – Review
1/30 – Twinning for Books – Review and Pinterest Board
1/31 – Dark Faerie Tales – Interview
2/1 – Reading is Better with Cupcakes – Review
2/2 – ButterMyBooks – Guest Post
2/3 – Folded Pages Distillery – Review
About the author:
Natalie C. Anderson is an American writer and international development professional living in Geneva, Switzerland. She has spent the last decade working with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa. She was selected as the 2014-2015 Associates of the Boston Public Library Children’s Writer-in-Residence, where she wrote her debut novel, City of Saints & Thieves.