It's 1982, 12 yr old Vonlai, his older sister Dalah and their parents must escape their home country of Laos, which was had a Communist government. In the beginning the family leaves in the night for Thailand. While in Thailand they must stay in a refugee camp. Vonlai's father tells the family they will only be there a few weeks. However, they aren't given an opportunity to leave for a few years. Escaping the Tiger centers around Vonlai and his families time in Thailand.
The author will hook many readers with the midnight escape. It moves at a good clip, there's danger and a little action. We get to know the family and what they are leaving behind, especially Vonlai. Young readers will be able to relate to Vonlai sadness at not being able to say goodbye to his best friend. Or never being able to play soccer with this friends again.
Vonlai's family must adjust to the hard life of living in a refugee camp. This is a visual story, readers will be able to easily picture Vonlai's new world. While playing soccer Vonlai becomes friends with, Kavin, an older boy. He was my favorite minor character. There were moments when the book crossed over into too much lesson not enough story. Except for the parts with Kavin. Vonlai was a strong enough character to over come this and keep my attention. Vonlai's relationship with his sister, Dalah was one of the stories strengths.
Escaping the Tiger is a good story with protagonist readers will want to follow until the end.
Kirkus and Booklist review via the author's site.
Read an excerpt