My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 9+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Child Labor, Family
To Whom It May Concern: Please, we need help!
The day twelve-year-old Clara finds a desperate note in a purse in Bellman’s department store, she is still reeling from the death of her adopted sister, Lola.
By that day, thirteen-year-old Yuming has lost hope that the note she stashed in the purse will ever be found. She may be stuck sewing in the pale pink factory outside of Beijing forever.
Clara grows more and more convinced that she was meant to find Yuming’s note. Lola would have wanted her to do something about it. But how can Clara talk her parents, who are also in mourning, into going on a trip to China?
Finally the time comes when Yuming weighs the options, measures the risk, and attempts a daring escape.
I appreciate the author exploring such an important subject – forced child labour – and I appreciate even more the message this book conveys to its readers: that WE can do something about that.
But it’s not very realistic. And it doesn’t have that authentic feel I’m always looking for in my reads, especially realistic fiction ones.
To me, it felt like we weren’t shown the whole truth – about child labour: their conditions, the life of the children, the physical and psychological effects, etc. It centers on Yuming and the three friends she makes at the factory, but it’s more about trying to escape the place, than denouncing it, if you know what I mean.
It’s not very realistic because people don’t just find notes in their purses, and they sure don’t afterwards immediately go on a rescue mission. Life isn’t that easy. It sure is nice of Clara (lucky she had the money to go there in the first place and her parents’ support) to do something like that, but….
It feels more like a miracle story than anything else.
Another thing is the plot itself – I have trouble deciding if there is one or not. It’s there, I guess, in the sense that there is a series of events indeed, but they are often interrupted by random memories of Lola (Clara’s dead Chinese sister) and, oftentimes, so slow and uninteresting and predictable and unrealistic that it lacked dept.
Which is a strange thing to say considering the subject-matter. But I’m not taking the thought back. It IS missing dept. This goes with what I said earlier about having the impression that we aren’t told the whole truth.
All in all, THREADS is not a book I regret having given a chance to, but I’m quite disappointed with it. It should have made me FEEL something, made me emotional, but it didn’t.
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