Home of the Brave

"Home of the Brave" reviewed by Katie on July 31, 2015

Home of the Brave
Katherine Applegate
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There are many instances where authors choose to write something out of their typical genre. Some are good, others not so much. But what happens when an author writes something not only different from what they've typically done, but also something so different from what other authors have done. That's essentially the case with "Home of the Brave." But one question remains, can the author of "Animorphs" pull off a more realistic story with a completely different writing format, or does this effort fall flat on its face? The answer is surprisingly... YES! The story is about Kek, an African refugee who comes to America to escape a war. As he starts school, learns abut American life (with some mishaps along the way), and gets a part-time job on a farm, he has to come to terms with his new life. The story is written in free-verse poetry, and this surprisingly works very well. It can be confusing at first, but it really enhances the story. It gives the book a slightly surreal feel. The way emotions play into the story is just amazing. One minute you're laughing at something funny, and the next you're in tears about what happened to Kek's family. The "fish out of water" element is interesting too. I think this is where the writer really shines in her work. While I have personally never read "Ever World" or "Remnants, " her two series for teenagers, this is also a strong element in the Animorphs books. I think it is really cool how she can translate this plot line from something that was very much Science Fiction to something much more realistic. All in all, "Home of the Brave" is a must-read regardless of your taste in genre. While this book seems to have fallen into the underrated category, I certainly hope that it will be considered a classic one day because it's as good as the books that are being studied in high school and college literature classes, and maybe even better.
Similar authors or titles?: 
There really isn't really any of this type of story as good, but for the "fish out of water" element, "Schooled" by Gordon Korman may be your best bet, but it's not written in the poetry format.
Would you recommend this book?: 
Yes, for any lit fan ages 12 and up. (I say 12 because it does have some more mature themes about war.)
Rate Your Read: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)