A review by betweentheshelves
Let's Go Swimming on Doomsday, by Natalie C. Anderson


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Wow, let me first say that Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday tackles an extremely difficult subject. For many, it’s a window into a culture not seen in YA lit. Abdi struggles with what happened when he was a part of Al-Shabaab. We get his experience in snippets, flipping between the past and present. While this is a bit difficult to follow at first, the inclusion of dates helps in keeping the reader straight throughout the book.

Anderson paints a light on the horrors that have happened in Somalia through the eyes of a teenager. We feel for Abdi as he tries to cope with the actions he’s committed, and the consequences of those actions. The book moves smoothly from past to present, giving readers a fuller picture of the status of events in Somalia.

Though the author isn’t from Somalia, the detail provided in the text shows that it is thoroughly researched. Anderson creates vivid images that illustrate her attention to the facts, and making parts of the book difficult to read. In the author’s note, she mentions interviewing refugees; while she hasn’t actually been there, she worked to gain the information necessary to create an authentic story.

Overall, the book is well-crafted, featuring an important topic. For me, it was a page turner. I just desperately needed to know that Abdi turns out okay. Well, as okay as can be expected.