Book Review: Illegal by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin, and Giovanni Rigano

Friday, October 6, 2017

Title: Illegal
Authors: Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Illustrator: Giovanni Rigano

Publication Date: 5th October 2017

Synopsis: "This is a powerful and timely story about one boy's epic journey across Africa to Europe, a graphic novel for all children with glorious colour artwork throughout. From Eoin Colfer, previously Irish Children's Laureate, and the team behind his bestselling Artemis Fowl graphic novels.

Ebo: alone.

His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo knows it can only be to make the hazardous journey to Europe.

Ebo's epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his sister."

My thoughts: Oh my goodness, this book broke me. I haven't sobbed over a book in a while. What the blurb says above is so right - this is an extremely powerful story with a very strong and timely message: the things that Ebo goes through in this book, others go through all the time. The very title, Illegal, speaks to the way we in the West, in particular, tend to think of people trying to find a new life for themselves. As the epigraph from Elie Wiesel says at the start of the book: " human being is illegal."

Ebo is a lovely, surprisingly gentle (surprising because of the things he goes through) person, and we follow him, flashing forward and backward, as he attempts to make his way to Europe. I can barely write about this book without disappearing into thought, and feeling tears push at the back of my eyes. The authors of this book have amalgamated the stories of countless immigrants to create Ebo's story so, while it is a work of fiction, every event in the book has happened to others, and continues to occur today.

I think this book is one that many people should read, not just children (which I believe are the target audience). It is eye-opening, and deeply sad, but also contains a glimmer of hope. It makes me want to help people more, and made me rethink things quite a bit about my own life. And that is quite amazing.

[I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!]

You would like this book if: You enjoy beautiful graphic novels with impactful storylines.

Rating:  10/10

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