The Ghosts and Jamal

I want to share my love for this one far and wide because it has filled my heart on many levels. The Ghosts and Jamal is a beautifully written and important story that deserves to be read and celebrated widely. Reading this book has also introduced me to a new-to-me independent publisher, HopeRoad, who I am hugely impressed by. Their mission statement is:

HopeRoad promotes inclusive literature with a focus on Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. We vigorously support often neglected voices and many of our YA titles focus on issues dealing with identity, cultural stereotyping and disability. At the heart of our publishing is the love of outstanding writing.

Right up my street! And The Ghosts of Jamal embodies that mission completely.

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‘Thirteen-year-old Jamal wasn’t born to be a hero. Far from it. His epilepsy has marked him out as ‘the bringer of bad spirits’ in his community in Nigeria; and so he has been banished to live alone on the fringes of the village. But then a terrorist attack leaves him as the sole survivor – and everything changes. Shy, introverted Jamal will finally show the world what he’s made of…’

Bridget Blankley has written a stunner here. The story follows Jamal as he wakes to discover canisters leaking yellow gas, which he assumes to be the ghosts that killed his family. He is determined to follow the ghosts and find out what to do now he is entirely alone. His journey takes him over mountains and through city streets and sees him living in a camp and the city dump. He finds friendship in unexpected places and learns that you can’t always trust those in positions of power and authority.

Jamal’s gentle, unassuming character is beautifully endearing and his story is heartfelt. You will want to rescue him from his own naivety. You will fall in love with him. And he will leave you proud; for when he discovers that it is people, not ghosts, that have killed his family, he finds the strength to stand up to those who tried to exploit him, and make the world a better place.

A hugely powerful story, perfect for fans of Mitch Johnson’s Kick, this is an exploration of  prejudice and power, fear and friendship. Brilliant for year 6+. Bravo to Hope Road Publishing for bringing us such a wonderful book.

You can get your copy here

Source – review copy kindly sent by Hope Road Publishing and Nicky Potter PR

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