Diamond Boy
Diamond Boy

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Annotation: When Patson's family moves to Marange region of Zimbabwe, he begins working in the mines, searching for blood diamonds, until government soldiers arrive and Patson is forced to journey to South Africa in search of his missing sister and a better life.
Catalog Number: #118910
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2014
Pages: 384 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-32069-2 Perma-Bound: 0-605-93903-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-32069-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-93903-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2013042071
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
When Patson's impoverished Zimbabwean family travels to their country's Marange diamond fields in search of a new life, nothing but trouble awaits them. The father's promised job as a teacher doesn't materialize, and both he and Patson find themselves working as miners. Their lives are suddenly at further risk when the military assumes control of the fields. Patson flees and steps on a land mine, losing most of his left leg. Still, against all odds, he must journey to South Africa to rescue his little sister, who has been abducted. In hot pursuit is his bête noire, Commander Jesus, head of the forces that took over the mines and murdered hundreds of miners in the process. Why the evil commander is pursuing Patson can't be revealed here, but suffice it to say, high stakes are involved. Williams' fast-paced, tension-packed story is filled with cliff-hangers, perils, and improbabilities that are occasionally overwhelming and push the story, at times, dangerously close to melodrama. In the end, though, this is a satisfying and eminently readable novel from the author of Crocodile Burning (1992).
Horn Book
Formerly middle-class but made destitute by Zimbabwe's runaway inflation, Patson and his father are forced to become diamond miners. With so much money at stake, the diamond fields are a brutal place--even more so when President Mugabe's army takes over diamond production. Structured around the 2008 Marange diamond field massacre, this is a tale of grim inhumanity told through an optimistic protagonist.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; Patson Moyo's life is perfectly ordinary. He is on the cross-country team with his best friend, Sheena. His father, a teacher, is often a little dreamy but a wonderful storyteller. His perky little sister, Grace, loves to play games on his cell phone. Patson never would have guessed that his smart, university-graduate father, who had won the Outstanding Teacher Award four years in a row, can barely make ends meet, due to government corruption and the massive devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar. Egged on by Patson's stepmother, Sylvia, the Moyos decide to improve their situation by traveling to Marage where Sylvia's brother lives and it is claimed that there are "diamonds for everyone." The power of Patson's story is rooted in the very mundane rites of daily life that even modern American teenagers will find familiar&12;the emoticon-filled texting between Patson and his sister, the angst and anxiety of a kiss between friends&12;juxtaposed with the real and menacing danger of the brutal whims of corrupt army officers and traitorous fellow miners. Diamond Boy is a companion novel to Williams's other book about war-torn Zimbabwe, Now Is the Time for Running (Little Brown, 2013). Readers of his past work will find a few familiar characters here, but even readers new to Williams's fiction will be similarly engrossed by his deft, unflinching prose. Teens will be left haunted by Patson's harsh yet essentially hopeful journey, where greed, despair, luck, and wonder intertwine on the diamond fields of Marage.&12; Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC
Voice of Youth Advocates
Against his will, teenager Patson Moyo leaves his hometown of Bulawayo with his father, sister Grace, and stepmother for the diamond fields of Zimbabwe. The wife has nagged Patson's schoolteacher father incessantly; he is too poor to support her as she wishes, and "diamonds are for everyone." Besides, her brother owns a huge mining operation there, and they can live with him. During their journey, their driver abandons them in a forest filled with murderous diamond thieves. They are rescued by a huge, badly scarred man, Boubacar, and delivered to Uncle James, who promptly sends Patson and his father into the Marange mines to labor and live under inhumane conditions. Patson befriends several other teens, including HIV-positive orphan Arves, and learns to steal stones by swallowing them, among other methods. As time passes, Patson finds and conceals several "girazi," large pure stones worth thousands, but before he can profit from these and escape with his family, disaster strikes.Award-winning author Williams has written here a companion book using characters from his earlier acclaimed Now Is the Time for Running (Little, Brown, 2011/VOYA August 2011). This is a compelling novel that brings home the desperate lives of exploited poor, and Diamond Boy will give every civilized reader pause. Written in diary format, the story brings the reader into the mind and soul of a young refugee suffering in a hell created by the greed and violence of powerful adults. More than simply a good read, Diamond Boy is a multilayered, teachable novel with a variety of approaches and is highly recommended for middle and high school collections.Laura Woodruff.
Word Count: 86,952
Reading Level: 5.5
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.5 / points: 13.0 / quiz: 170671 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.4 / points:21.0 / quiz:Q65403
Lexile: HL820L
Guided Reading Level: K

My father says that a journey should always change your life in some way. Well, when you have nothing, I suppose a journey promises everything.

"Diamonds for everyone." That's what fifteen-year-old Patson Moyo hears when his family arrives in the Marange diamond fields. Soon Patson is working in the mines along with four friends, pooling their profits for a chance at a better life. Each of them hopes to find a girazi, a priceless stone that could change their circumstances forever. But when the government's soldiers come to Marange, Patson's world is shattered.

Set against the backdrop of Zimbabwe's brutal recent history, Diamond Boy is the story of a young man who succumbs to greed but finds his way out through a transformative journey to South Africa in search of his missing sister, in search of freedom, and in search of himself.

A high-stakes, harrowing adventure in the blood-diamond fields of southern Africa, from the critically acclaimed author of Now Is the Time for Running.

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