Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday tells the story of teenager Abdi and his family, who live in Somalia, Africa. In Somalia, there is an Islamic terrorist group called Al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab is known for killing or kidnapping civilians and making young boys become soldiers. Troops from the United States, as well as Africa, are working to defeat Al-Shabaab, but this group continues to terrorize Somalia. Abdi’s older brother gets kidnapped from school and then three years later, Abdi’s entire family gets violently kidnapped from their home. When Abdi is offered a chance to save his family, he goes for it, even if it means he has to become a child soldier in Al-Shabaab’s Army. Abdi’s story is split between the then and the now, which was a little confusing, but each chapter is dated, which helps you follow the timeline of the story.
I thought this book was a real page turner. Although there are violent parts, you want to keep reading to find out what happens to Abdi and his family. Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday is a fiction book but reads very much like a non-fiction book. The characters and places are written so realistically, I found myself double checking to make sure that this truly was a fiction book. I think the author did a great job of portraying what kinds of things people might to do to protect and rescue their family. Although the violent parts of this book are hard to read, I think Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday is a must-read book for everybody.
The most memorable part of the book was when we get to see snippets of Abdi’s past life with his family. The memory of Abdi, his brother, and father on the boat show how much the family loved one another and that they lived a pretty normal life. The memories of his family are what drives Abdi to survive, and I liked that we got to relive them with him.
Reviewed by James, Twin Hickory Library