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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant

Alex Gilvarry’s first novel is darkly funny, yet deadly serious. It reflects both his experience living in New York City post-911, his obsession with Guantanamo Bay, and a deep interest in celebrity.

A brief yet telling interview with the author is available on NPR, and Penguin offers discussion questions.

GILVARRY, Alex. From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant: A Novel. 320p. Viking. 2012. Tr $26.95. ISBN 978-0-670-02319-6. LC 2011032993.  From the Memoirs of a non-enemy combatant

Adult/High School–Boy Hernandez had one purpose for leaving the Philippines and moving to New York City–and it had nothing to do with weapons of any kind. His dream was to make it as a designer of woman’s wear in one of the great hubs of the fashion industry. But now Boy sits in a cell in No Man’s Land, Guantanamo Bay, looking back on those salad days as he “confesses” to an unknown crime. It’s true that he ignored his instinctive understanding that his affable downstairs neighbor was a pathological liar. When Ahmed offered Boy $2500 dollars to make two suits, Boy was too bedazzled by the money to analyze his motives. Over time, Boy’s world became increasingly filled with success and glamour, helped along by large sums of money from Ahmed and guidance from a publicist named Ben Laden. Piecing it all together from prison, Boy sadly realizes that, “I was a fiction from the beginning.” The madcap, stream-of-consciousness style of the protagonist’s recollections is well balanced by the seriousness of his imprisonment. For many of today’s teens, the suspension of liberties incurred by the Patriot Act of 2001, as well as crimes committed at Guantanamo Bay, have faded into history lessons. First-time author Gilvarry gives readers a hilarious, satiric romp through some highly sensitive territory. Offer this to fans of Christopher Moore, Carl Hiaasen, or other writers who blend humor with biting social commentary.–Diane Colson, Palm Harbor Library, FL

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.