Book: Code of Honor
Author: Alan Gratz
Age Range: 12 and up
Code of Honor by Alan Gratz is about a 17-year-old boy whose life falls apart when his beloved older brother is accused of terrorism. Kamran Smith's father is caucasian, but his mother is Iranian. Kamran is living a charmed life in Phoenix as a homecoming king, football star, boyfriend, and soon-to-be cadet at West Point (his longtime dream). All of that changes when CNN starts showing video of his Ranger brother Darius working with, and speaking for, middle eastern terrorists.
People at school (even his friends) are suspicious of Kamran, as is the Department of Homeland Security. Before he knows it, Kamran is locked in a detention facility, trying to escape so that he can save his brother.
Code of Honor covers a lot of ground, from friendship and loyalty to what it feels like to be discriminated against to the bond of brotherhood. There is also, particularly in the second half of the book, plenty of high stakes action. While it might be a tad implausible for Kamran to be directly involved in preventing a terrorist attack, Gratz pulls it off. There was one scene in which I was skeptical, but then he mitigated my concerns, and made things make sense.
I read Code of Honor in a single sitting, eager to know what would happen to Kamran and Darius. I didn't even stop to place post-it flags, so I don't have any quotes for you. I like that while Gratz addresses what it feels like to be treated differently because you look Middle Eastern, he also makes Kamran broadly relatable, and includes enough action to keep teens (and adults) turning the pages.
Code of Honor has a ripped from the headlines theme, a fast-paced plot, a diverse protagonist, and a focus on loyalty and honor. It belongs in high school and public libraries everywhere. Recommended, and going on my keep shelf.
Publisher: Scholastic (@Scholastic)
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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