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Guantanamo Boy [Paperback]

Anna Perera
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

5 Feb 2009
Khalid, a fifteen-year-old Muslim boy from Rochdale, is abducted from Pakistan while on holiday with his family. He is taken to Guantanamo Bay and held without charge, where his hopes and dreams are crushed under the cruellest of circumstances. An innocent denied his freedom at a time when Western boys are finding theirs, Khalid tries and fails to understand what's happening to him and cannot fail to be a changed young man.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (5 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141326077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141326078
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anna Perera is the author of the critically acclaimed Guantanamo Boy which was shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award and Branford Boase and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. She also gives talks, visits schools, reviews, writes articles and screenplays and enjoys the local pub quiz every week even though her team rarely win. Anna has a grown-up son and lives in London.

Her latest novel is set in Cairo: The Glass Collector.

UK publisher: Puffin.
US publisher: Albert Whitman Ltd. Boy

Product Description


This powerful and humane book shows that hatred is never an answer, and proves the pointlessness of torture and the danger of thinking of anyone as 'other.' (Nicolette Jones Sunday Times )

One of her greatest achievements is to make the frightening monotony of the two years he suffers so full of suspense. (Kate Kellaway Observer )

An excellent novel . . . superb (Amanda Craig The Times )

Extremely powerful, and the descriptions of torture are genuinely harrowing. (The Guardian )

Timely, gritty fiction. (Times Review )

Could it happen? It has happened. That's why teenagers should read this book. (Irish Times )

Rising star: Anna Perera. Her novel highlights the teenagers sent to the camp as it tugs readers into its vivid nightmare journey. (The Independent )

About the Author

Anna Perera was born in London to an Irish mother and Sri Lankan father. She worked as an English teacher in two secondary schools in London, and later became responsible for a unit for excluded boys. She lives in Hampshire, England. Guantanamo Boy is her first teenage novel.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A challenging, rewarding read 19 Feb 2009
This is a coming of age story with a difference. Guantanamo Boy tells the story of Khalid, a young British teen who loves his mates, his computer games and is beginning to like girls. Khalid doesn't come of age with success on the football fields or with fumbles with the opposite sex but in a world of suspicion, terror and confusion. Retaining a simple, almost nave dignity we experience with Khalid the horror of how an innocent boy ends up in Guantanamo Bay. The novel starts, like Khalid, with a simple and straightforward innocence. As Khalid's story develops you gain an affection for him and as you become caught up in his world to the point where, as the story takes its dramatic and horrifying turn, you feel protective of him and ashamed that a civilised world can treat a child in the ways so powerfully described.

I found Guantanamo Boy to be a difficult and uncomfortable read but this is not say that it was not an utterly compelling read. Some of the passages describing his `interrogation' are challenging to read - you almost want to cry out to make it stop. It tackles head on the horrors of humanity by dealing with a very emotive and topical subject . I would encourage young teens and adults to read this book and be prepared to travel with Khalid to the very dark heart of the `war on terror'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Guantanamo boy 30 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
i loved Guantamano boy. It was an extremely powerful and heart-wrenching book on the life of a boy in one of the toughest prisons.
I definitely recommend reading it. If you don't, you are missing out on one of the most amazing books ever to be published. The book also told me how much we take for granted-a chocolate bar to Khalid was heaven, but most of us eat them everyday without thinking about their taste and how good they are.

I salute you, Anna
Matthew, the kid you met in a cafe
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5.0 out of 5 stars A harrowing yet uplifting story. 6 Aug 2013
By Hannah
I read this book in 2 days. It is a very powerful and harrowing read yet also very believable. The author takes you into the mind of 15 year old Khalid and his journey from Rochdale, where he lives as any normal teenager, with a love of football and friends to visiting his family in Pakistan where things go awry. After his arrest in Pakistan, which eventually results in his impoundment in Guantanamo Bay, his isolation, suffering and his hope is summed up brilliantly by the author.

I would recommend this book to be on the reading list of every secondary school as it covers current and relevant issues surrounding prejudice in our society.

This book highlights how we take the mundane and everyday things for granted. The vivid writing shows that even if we think all is lost the tiniest kind gesture will give us hope.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interestingly written 23 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book surprising in many ways. When I read the blurb I thought it would be like any other book. I thought it would be a good read but just a book, not very believable, but I was pleasantly surprised. It begins with a teenager, Khalid Ahmed, whose life is fairly normal and you begin to get to know the character, how much he loves football and computer games, and find out about his slight reluctance to be around his family.

His reaction, therefore, when his mum tells him about the family holiday to Karachi, Pakistan to visit his dad's sisters, is not a good one. During the holiday he is kidnapped by a bunch of thugs and transported to several different places before finally ending up at Guantanamo Bay, and being unfairly interviewed at regular intervals.

I found the interviews quite hard to read sometimes because I could feel Khalid's stress at being asked the same questions over and over again and not being believed when he stated his innocence.

I found `Guantanamo Boy' a very interesting book, showing a boy's innocence in a time of war and paranoia. I could tell there was a lot of emotion put into writing it and I found I could easily empathise with Khalid as he went through the struggles of trying to show ignorant people that he has done nothing wrong. I would recommend it.
Ross MacFarlane 3S - Forres Academy
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 4 Jun 2012
Challenges the every day "there's no smoke without fire" cliche that you hear muted so often. Based a true story it is a very compelling and saddening story that makes you question how far the war on terror should go and are we (UK/America a racist nation at heart? If you don't mind your values questioned, are looking for an informative read and don't want a happy, comfortable read then this is for you!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Innocence lost. 14 Feb 2012
By Elka
An unexpected subject for a teen read but an important one.
Khalid an unexceptional and naive teen is mad about; football, computer games, girls and hanging out with mates. Born to liberal hardworking Pakistani muslim parents he rarely even experiences conflicts between his lifestyle and religion.

This all changes when he visits Pakistan for a family holiday and finds himself kidnapped, imprisoned without charge and then sent to Guantanamo as a suspected terrorist.
The torture and horrors of Guantanamo are played down - this book is aimed at a teen market but the humilation, desolation and loneliness felt by Khalid cannot fail to shock and outrage the reader.

Once accused can you ever prove your innocence? It reminded me of the witch trials when just having the finger pointed at you was enough to condemn you.
There is a real sense of confusion and injustice throughout the book. Khalid and the reader spend much of the story wondering how it could happen and how without charge or communication with the outside world there can ever be justice.

It is a harrowing story that cannot fail to touch the reader and open their eyes. Khalid is an average adolescent inexplicably caught up in the atmosphere created by war, fear and revenge.
Ultimately it is not all doom and gloom though, there is hope and Khalid is a 'hero' who struggles against madness to survive, understand and inspire.

Thanks to NetGalley for sending this to me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Book review
I asked my mum to buy me this book because I was going to a talented writers thing and I ws going to meet the author Anna Perera. Read more
Published on 5 Dec 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, compassionate, disturbing book
I am not usually very interested in realistic tales of hardship.

Reading through someone's struggle doesn't fascinate me, my misery memoirs reading started and ended... Read more
Published on 3 July 2010 by Ms. F. M. Stygall
5.0 out of 5 stars Guantanamo Boy
Until recently our son has been a reluctant reader, but he has begun to appreciate and enjoy 'the novel'. Read more
Published on 23 Feb 2010 by Mr. Michael R. Candlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
This is a great and important book. As a fictional piece of work, it is a compelling story which is gripping to read, but it also offers an insight into one of the great scandals... Read more
Published on 26 Dec 2009 by Adam Ball
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, heartrending but ultimately a triumph of the human spirit
Imagine you are 15 years old living in a northern town, hanging out with your mates playing football, bunking off school occasionally and too shy to ask out the girl you have a... Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2009 by Redwood the Younger
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and an EYE opener...
Published on 10 Oct 2009 by ALYSSIA STARR
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, Harrowing but Ultimately Inspirational
A harrowing account of how a fifteen year old boy gets caught up in George Bush's ill conceived "war on terror". Read more
Published on 22 July 2009 by Sir Furboy
5.0 out of 5 stars Guantanamo boy by anna perera
Occasionally a novel permits a very special journey into the life of a character that under normal circumstances you might never meet or know and you come away with a deeper... Read more
Published on 26 Jun 2009 by Anne Marie Mackay
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