A Time of Miracles
By Anne-Laure Bondoux
Delacorte Press, 2010. 180 pgs. Middle Grade Fiction
Koumail is a child living in the crumbling U.S.S.R. as the republic is crumbling. His guardian Gloria has told him that he was in a train wreck as a baby, and his mother passed him off to Gloria, along with their passports. Since then, Gloria has raised him and has told him that he is really Blaise Fortune, a French citizen, and as they move across Eastern Europe., trying to escape warlords and militias, that their goal is to get him to France. Along the way, Gloria teaches him to have hope, no matter what happens.
I liked the style of this book; Koumail/Blaise tells the story with the flair of a storyteller. At the same time, I felt like I really didn't fully understand the back story (perhaps my own fault for knowing so little about the history of the U.S.S.R.), and that sense that I didn't know enough about what was going kept drawing my attention away from the story, which in turn made it harder for me to really connect with and care about the book. At the same time, the writing had almost a poetic feel to it, which many readers will appreciate.
I feel like maybe I should have liked this one more, but now that I've finished it, it's not keeping me thinking about it, like some books do, so I can only give it 3 stars.