Borderline by Allan Stratton
9th March 2010 | HarperCollins
Fifteen-year-old Sami Sabiri is a typical suburban teen. He is a good student, has a close group of friends, and struggles to live up to his father's expectations. He faces some bullying at school because of his Muslim faith, and does not get the support from the administration to stop it. When his dad cancels a planned trip to Toronto with him, Sami begins to suspect he might be having an affair. He checks up on him and unknowingly stirs up a completely different investigation of the man's behavior. Is Sami's dad a terrorist? What ensues is a tautly paced thriller with well-crafted characters and realistic teen dialogue. It is the plausibility of the plotline that makes it, ultimately, so disturbing. The FBI breaks into the Sabiris' house one night, destroys their belongings, and takes Sami's father away. The teen's troubles at school are neatly juxtaposed with the assumptions made by the FBI about his dad, and ultimately lead toward a positive resolution to Sami's relationship with his father. This is a great, fast-paced read that will have particular appeal to fans of the television show 24. It is also notable for its characterization of a strong male Muslim who is true to his faith and struggles to do the right thing throughout. While the cover art is not compelling, this title will make an excellent booktalk. Once it finds its way into the hands of teens, word of mouth will ensure that it circulates.