Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Tina Athaide
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Asha and Yesofu have been best friends since birth. Asha is Indian and Yesofu is African, but that has never mattered—until now. Ugandan president Idi Amin has decreed that all Indians in Uganda have ninety days to leave the country, and suddenly Asha's world turns upside down as the people in Entebbe become increasingly hostile to her family and her fellow Indians. Determined to show that she is just as Ugandan as the Africans around her, Asha clings to the life she has always known. But Yesofu is torn between loyalty to his friendship with Asha and the opportunities that a Uganda for Africans promises—a chance at university, wealth for his family. With only days to go before the deadline, Asha and Yesofu are faced with a choice: to hold on to their friendship amid the unrest and brutality around them, or to let each other go.
This book is a wonderful look at a piece of little-known history. At times the prose falls a little flat and seems lacking in editing, but in general the voice and writing is strong. The book alternates between Asha’s and Yesofu’s points of view, effectively showing the different perspectives about the issue and the societal aftereffects of colonialism. Yesofu’s internal struggle between his loyalty to Asha and loyalty to his own people is compelling and understandable. Readers may find Asha a little more difficult to connect with. The ending is not very hopeful, but the book is an honest portrayal of a land in conflict and the consequences of prejudice and deep-rooted resentment. This would be a great book to use as a discussion starter in the classroom.
*Contains moderate violence.