Pajama Press

School Library Journal reviews Dance of the Banished

Posted on February 1st, 2015 by pajamapress

Dance of the Banished, a WWI novel by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch“Gr 8 Up–Skrypuch continues to tell the stories of young refugees—as in The Hunger (2002), Nobody’s Child (2003, both Dundrun), and Daughter of War (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2008)—in her latest historical novel. Set between 1913 and 1917, it features two Alevi Kurd teenagers in Anatolia as World War I breaks out and Turkey begins the Armenian Genocide. Ali emigrates before the war begins and gives his girlfriend, Zeynep, a journal to write in for when they meet again. While in Canada, he is locked up in an internment camp because of his nationality, though he does not identify as Turkish. Meanwhile, Zeynep is witness to the genocide of her neighbors and is called to help. The author sheds light on an often overlooked piece of history….[T]he setting is fascinating, the research is thorough, and the story is made all the more interesting due to current events in the region. The author’s note is full of source notes and historical details…In a world that continues to be violent, readers may find solace in the novel’s joyful ending. VERDICT Dance of the Banished is absolutely school assignment worthy, and a good book for teens who enjoy historical fiction.”

—Lisa Nowlain, Darien Library, CT