Nine Days

Nine Days

3.0 2
by Fred Hiatt
     
 

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A fast-paced contemporary thriller in the vein of James Patterson and Anthony Horowitz set against the bustling backdrop of Hong Kong, Vietnam, and the border of China. This heart-pounding adventure takes place as two teens, an American teenage boy and his friend, a Chinese girl from his Washington, DC-area high school, must find her father who has been

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Overview

A fast-paced contemporary thriller in the vein of James Patterson and Anthony Horowitz set against the bustling backdrop of Hong Kong, Vietnam, and the border of China. This heart-pounding adventure takes place as two teens, an American teenage boy and his friend, a Chinese girl from his Washington, DC-area high school, must find her father who has been kidnapped—and they only have nine days. Although the characters in the novel are fictionalized, they are based on a real Chinese family who were part of the Chinese Democracy Movement and inspired this story.

"Few mysteries combine cultural diversity, politics and physical danger with a lighthearted friendship. This engaging mix will have great appeal."—Kirkus Reviews

"A captivating thriller grounded in real-world problems."—Publishers Weekly

"A rollicking and fast-paced young adult adventure novel."—South China Morning Post

"Hiatt...offers middle-school-aged readers an appealing mix of action and friendship, with lessons about world events and human rights woven throughout."—Washington Post Book World

“A compelling, teen-centric political thriller . . . inspired by actual events.”—BooklistOnline.com

A NCSS/CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Yvonne Zipp
Hiatt…offers middle-school-aged readers an appealing mix of action and friendship, with lessons about world events and human rights woven throughout.
Publishers Weekly
Washington Post editor Hiatt draws inspiration from actual events in this tense tale of international intrigue. Sophomore Ethan Wynkoop's interest in China leads him to befriend Ti-Anna Chen, whose father is an exiled Chinese activist. When Ti-Anna's father goes missing while visiting Hong Kong, Ethan and Ti-Anna embark on a bold, foolhardy plan to track him down. Using forged documents and a borrowed credit card, they travel across the world, their search taking them to Hong Kong, and later to Vietnam. As they unravel the secret of Mr. Chen's disappearance, they get caught up in a human trafficking operation that could spell the end to their journey. Detail-rich and character-driven, this story showcases issues like human rights violations and slavery; abundant references to Chinese political history saturate Hiatt's prose, but the narrative avoids becoming overly erudite, balancing education and adventure. Even the hard-to-swallow elements—namely, how the teens get as far as they do—are handled believably and with repercussions. A captivating thriller grounded in real-world problems. Ages 12–up. Agent: Raphael Sagalyn, Sagalyn Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Tenth grader Ethan might as well be an only child, since both his older siblings are already out of the home, as are his brilliant scientist parents much of the time. But he is content with the situation, immersing himself in a variety of arcane topics that he finds fascinating like kendo (Japanese swordsmanship), hieroglyphics, and Chinese history. When he gets in a heated argument with his history teacher over Mao Zedong's right to be called "the father of his nation," he unwittingly initiates a connection with his quiet and lovely Chinese-American classmate, Ti-Anna. Her father, Ethan learns, is a well-known democratic activist in exile, and when she confides a few weeks later that her father returned to China and has not been heard from, Ethan and Ti-Anna embark on a mission to find him. Stealing credit cards and forging parental signatures are just the first shaky steps for these two formerly mild-mannered and obedient teens as they fly to Hong Kong, follow the trail of Ti-Anna's father to Vietnam, are kidnapped, rescue a truckload of trafficked young girls from Laos, and eventually return home to face the music. This is a fictionalized account based on the actual kidnapping of activist Wang Bingzhang in 2002 and his daughter Ti-Anna's subsequent efforts to publicize his continued imprisonment by the Chinese government. There are afterword's by both the real Ti-Anna and by the author that would serve as great discussion starters for a class considering human rights violations and what students can do to respond to them. Books like Trafficked by Kim Purcell discuss the slavery problem right here in the United States. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
VOYA - Katie Mitchell
When Ethan criticizes Mao Zedong at his Washington, D.C. high school, he expects anger from the sons of the Chinese diplomats. But the quiet and sure support of Ti-anna Chen does surprise him. Ti-anna reveals that she is the daughter of one of the most famous Chinese dissidents, a man Ethan has long revered. When her father goes missing, presumably in China, Ethan determines that they should follow the scant clues left behind to find him. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game that leads the duo to Hong Kong, Vietnam, and (hopefully) closer to Ti-anna's father. Hiatt says that the book was inspired by a true story and includes an afterward from the real Ti-anna, a young woman whose father is still being held by the Chinese government. The book takes the form of a journal Ethan has written for the juvenile court judge who has been assigned his case after their return to the United States. Unfortunately, Ethan never rings true as a character and the burgeoning of his relationship with Ti-anna feels forced. The secondary subplot of the duo rescuing hundreds of victims of sex trafficking is highly unbelievable. This novel does, however, introduce some major global issues and could have an audience with those looking for stories of espionage and human rights violations. Reviewer: Katie Mitchell
Kirkus Reviews
Human rights abuses in China get all too personal for a couple of American high school students in this appealing thriller. Tenth-graders Ethan and Ti-Anna gradually become closer friends and partner investigators when Ti-Anna's father disappears. Known for his activism on behalf of Chinese dissidents, he loses contact with his family on a trip to Hong Kong. Ethan and Ti-Anna engineer a trip to Asia to investigate, which ultimately puts the initially retiring Ti-Anna into peril. It is a dangerous journey, full of mysterious threats, that requires them each to trust and support the other. It's not a romance at all, though there are some overtones of that: Front and center is the conundrum of how they will track someone who doesn't want to be tracked, in a strange city and with the government as their opponent. There's a nice vibe to the friendship between the two, which is supported by the assurance that all is ultimately well; Ethan states at the beginning that the account he narrates is being written for a judge. Hiatt neatly folds in information and background on 20th-century Chinese history and current events. Few mysteries combine cultural diversity, politics and physical danger with a lighthearted friendship. This engaging mix will have great appeal to middle school readers in search of adventure; the geopolitical education is a nice bonus. (Thriller. 11-16)
From the Publisher
“Few mysteries combine cultural diversity, politics and physical danger with a lighthearted friendship. This engaging mix will have great appeal.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“A captivating thriller grounded in real-world problems.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“A rollicking and fast-paced young adult adventure novel.” —South China Morning Post
 
“A compelling, teen-centric political thriller . . . inspired by actual events.”—BooklistOnline.com
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Ti-Anna's father is a famous Chinese dissident, living in exile in America. When he disappears during a trip to Hong Kong, she is convinced that she can find him. She and her friend Ethan follow his trail to Vietnam, where they realize that they have walked into the same trap her father encountered. But while he was arrested and taken back to China, Ti-Anna will be sold into slavery. Told by Ethan as part of a court-mandated confession (his parents reported him and their credit card missing), this is a political-action thriller inspired by a true story. Hiatt, an editor and columnist at the Washington Post, got the idea to write Nine Days from the work of dissident Wang Bingzhang's daughter (also named Ti-Anna) to free her father. However, despite the real-world inspiration, the protagonists' adventure (and the adults who offer only halfhearted attempts to stop them) requires a great suspension of disbelief. Ti-Anna, who is the driving force of plot, has several unexplained mood swings. While Ethan's narration is useful to impart background information about modern Chinese history, his inability to speak the language means he has to sum up important conversations after Ti-Anna has debriefed him, which can be distracting.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385742733
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
04/09/2013
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

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