Forbidden City

( 17 )

Overview

Seventeen-year-old Alex Jackson comes home from school to find that his father, a CBC news cameraman, wants to take him to China's capital, Beijing.  Once there, Alex finds himself on his own in Tian An Men Square as desperate students fight the Chinese army for their freedom.  Separated from his father and carrying illegal videotapes, Alex must trust the students to help him escape.

Closely based on eyewitness accounts of ...

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Overview

Seventeen-year-old Alex Jackson comes home from school to find that his father, a CBC news cameraman, wants to take him to China's capital, Beijing.  Once there, Alex finds himself on his own in Tian An Men Square as desperate students fight the Chinese army for their freedom.  Separated from his father and carrying illegal videotapes, Alex must trust the students to help him escape.

Closely based on eyewitness accounts of the massacre in Beijing, Forbidden City is a powerful and frightening story.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite certain shortcomings, this fictionalized account of the tragedy of Tiananmen Square is as engrossing as it is appalling. When Alex's father, a news cameraman, is assigned to Beijing, Alex leaps at the chance to join him. At loose ends in the alien metropolis, the teenager studies Chinese and explores the city on his bike, filming with a makeshift hidden camera. Not surprisingly, these skills come in handy during both the student protests and the subsequent crackdown. In fact, Alex's avocation, along with his father's profession, seem to have been chosen solely to provide the reader with a bird's-eye view of the events of that brutal spring. Even Alex's obsession with military history seems tacked on in order to facilitate the lumbering symbolism of the novel's conclusion. By contrast, Bell's descriptions of the action in and around the Square are vivid and heartbreaking--there are moments when the searing force of this fragment of recent history shines through the thin characters and eclipses the contrived plot. Ages 12-up. Nov.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-12-- Alex, 17-year-old war aficionado and son of a Canadian cameraman, accompanies his father to China and becomes enmeshed in the Tiananmen incident of 1989. He gets separated from his father, is befriended by some students, witnesses a good deal of the massacre, and is finally smuggled out by a student who pays for his liberation with her life. This is a blood-and-thunder story, and Bell tells it with gusto. Incidents are piled on one another, background descriptions are very convincing, and at times readers will almost feel they are there. All this amounts to an incredibly compelling novel. Curiously, when the protagonist is not in China, he becomes somewhat one-dimensional. The beginning is a tad contrived to lead to the real meat of the novel, and the ending is pat beyond common decency in a grand, melodramatic scene, Alex destroys all his war toys back in comfy surburban Toronto. Yet the preponderant part of this novel is marvelously realized, partially from the immediacy of using first-person narration, partially from telling vignettes that really bring the time, place, and situation to life in a most memorable way. There is also a certain ring of truth about some elements of the story that resonates long after putting this novel down. In spite of the flaws, this is an excellent tale, well told, and a historical novel of note. --John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440226796
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 199
  • Sales rank: 448,054
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.31 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

William Bell’s young adult novels have been translated into nine languages and have won a number of awards, among them the Manitoba Readers’ Choice Award, the Mr. Christie’s Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, and the Canadian Librarians’ Association Award. He lives in Orillia, Ontario, with author Ting-xing Ye.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2007

    Sensationalist Nonsense

    This book is not an accurate protrayal of the events in Beijing at all. I will not say it disappointed me, because I never expected it to amount to much anyway. Hence, poor . . .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2007

    Amazing!

    This book has to be the best I've ever read for school. At the end, i was almost dissapointed that the book was over. Forbidden City gives tons of insight about the Beijing Massacre, and I recomend it to anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2005

    this story is a piece of history!

    This wonderful novel talks about modern world looking at ancient times. This book is great

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2005

    A captivating story. Very good book.

    This is a great story that portrays the Tian an men aquare massacre very well. it was exciting at times and sad at times but a good read the whole time. This is the only good book I have read for school!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2004

    Greatest book ever!!!!!!!!!!!

    Forbidden City is one of the best books I've ever read in my life. I loved the book very much and gave it two thumbs up. I bet if you read it, you'd give it two thumbs up also

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2002

    Highly Recommended

    This was the first great book I ever read. That was 4 years ago but this book catapulted my love for reading. I highly recommend this thoroughly interesting novel for readers in grades 7-9.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2002

    A book about China during the Beijing Massacre

    This book is set in Beijing during the beijing Massacre. I really felt that it portrayed the event rather well. It was also able to keep me interested from start to finish. It also contained excitement and adventure and suspense. When the main character, Alex gets a chance to go to china with his father, he jumps for the opportunity. However, he ends up not liking it there very much. I would recommend this book to most anybody, because it is easy to read and well written. It is in the Genre of Historical Fiction. This book is based on eyewitness reports, so I imagine that most of the events are accurate. Overall, this book was good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2002

    A little slow but an important story

    This was a good book that is needed as a piece of history. I had never heard about the horrible events in Tian Man Square but this book really opened my eyes. It's a little slow in the beginning but if you stick with it, you will find that it is an important story that is exciting also. the author, William Bell, is very talented. He wrote the whole book from the perspective of a teen boy and with detail and flare.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2001

    Loved It

    This story is really well written , the last few chapters are i must see it's really tragic and is a must buy book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2001

    Awesome book

    This book was one of the best I ever read. It is full of action and suspense and there is never a boring moment in the story. Realistic and very well-written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2001

    Agood book.....but

    This is a great book and it is quite exciting up untill the end. Durring the last chapter or so there is a cretian something left to be desired.....Otherwise a great book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2001

    It deserves 8 stars, it is one of the best books ever!

    William Bell's breath taking story that took place in Tian An Men Square tells about a heart breaking tragedy that you will never forget!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2000

    ITS BAD

    I DONT LIKE IT BECAUSE ITS BORING

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2000

    This book is great.

    Dear sufers. This book is a great book for anyone who thinks that life is just happiness. It's way more than just staying at home, having fun. It's about experiences and pain other people in the world are facing at the same time, you are having fun. Please read this if you have a heart. It brought a change in my life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2000

    a reviewer

    this is a great book! - u must read this. its exiting and i could never put it down. its full of facts and gives a great understanding of a terrible time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2000

    Tiananmen Square

    I thought this book was excellent. It gave me a full understanding of what happened, and inspired my research on this for a history project. Although fictional, it proved to be very accurate, and similar to a true account I had read withing my research. This is a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2000

    Bad book!

    Don't waste your time on this terrible book. It takes so long to get to the most suspenceful part and even that part is boring! In my opinion and in the opinion of all my colleagues,its BADDDDD!!!!!

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