Guantanamo Boy, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


Khalid, a fifteen-year-old Muslim boy from Rochdale, is abducted from Pakistan while on holiday with his family.

He is taken to Guantanamo Bay and held without charge, where his hopes and dreams are crushed under the cruellest of circumstances.

An innocent denied his freedom at a time when Western boys are finding theirs, Khalid tries and fails to understand what's happening to him and cannot fail to be a changed young man.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fiction & true stories
  • ISBN: 9780141326078

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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

A very moving and inspirational read. Anna Perera pulls no punches with this highly emotive and descriptive teenager’s novel. It isn’t until you’ve read the novel that you can reflect on the serenity from the opening scene; the clash of images in the rest of the novel will unsettle most readers. It would be good if this appears either as a whole text or as extracts on future syllabuses across many departments in schools, it offers a wealth of information to explore.I only know of Guantanamo Bay from what I see in the media and it was good to then read in The Times and The Guardian how Perara developed the concept for the novel. Acknowledging her main source, Perara admits not wanting to use detainees’ stories as they are their stories to be told and not hers. This alone touched me but left me wondering how evocative her novel would then be; I didn’t have to wonder for long; in my opinion she has been successful at becoming a 15 year old Muslim.Khalid is like any other teenager until a family holiday to Pakistan. A holiday he didn’t want to take and continually lets his family know this. I won’t go in to how he is abducted or the actual circumstances but I really did feel Khalid’s sense of confusion at the situation he was faced with. The narrative flows and I found it hard to put the novel down, in fact I didn’t want to as I just wanted to keep on reading about Khalid’s ordeal. I think this book will haunt me for a long time and I will recommend it to everyone! I was reduced to tears towards the end, resulting in me needing a few moments of reflection once I’d reached the end. The novel is complete, I can’t go into much more because I don’t want to mention the outcome of the novel but I wasn’t left with any questions. A very plain cover to the novel but equally an effective cover is sure to catch many readers’ eyes on a shop’s shelves and the added touch of orange on the end of the pages adds to the impact. A very clever novel, one that would be good to read with others as you are sure to have plenty to discuss.

Review by

A harrowing account of how a fifteen year old boy gets caught up in George Bush's ill conceived "war on terror". Accused of planning to bomb London afet he and some friends collaborated on the creation of a computer game, British school child, Khalid is abducted from Karachi in Pakistan, where he was visiting relatives. His CIA kidnappers will not believe he is 15, nor that he was just passing through a demonstration in Karachi to find his father. They fly him to Kandahar, where he is tortured into signing a confession that is then uses to send him to Guantanamo bay.This is an immensely painful story - mostly because so much of it is based in real events. If anything, the inhumanity is toned down to make it suitable for young adult readers. Khalid, the protagonist, is fictional - but the story is true, and it is a book that will make you angry, depressed, frightened and sad. And yet there is a message of hope there too. Hope that we can answer evil with good, and turn away from the violence that is perpetrated against us.This book moved me deeply. I knew it would have to - it is one of those subjects that cannot leave you untouched. But depressing as the subject material must inevitably be, and despite the evil it describes - I cannot recommend this book highly enough. There is no glossing over of unhelpful facts here. There is no wallowing in self pity or partisanship. Instead there is a story of evil, injustice, understanding, love and ultimately hope.

Review by

Khalid Ahmad is a 15 year old English boy. He watches and plays futbal, works hard at school, has strong family values and an affinity for computer games. He takes a trip to Pakistan with his family, as his father must clean up loose ends after his grandmother dies. Of course, Khalid is in Pakistan in the wake of 9/11 and is picked up for being a terrorist. He is then thrown in jail without a trail, his habeous corpus suspended -- however I don't know if England has habeous corpus. Right-o. Of course, Khalid winds up in Guantanamo, which breaks several geneval laws.What I notice about Guantanamo Boy is the underlying political statements. It is very critical of the war on terror. It is very critical of Guantanamo Bay. For the most part, I understand that criticism. However, I felt it was just a little too blatant for me. I'm not very comfortable when someone forces their political opinion on me. Yet, I do think what Perera has done in raising awareness about the unfair practices of Guantanamo Bay is fabulous.One thing which bothered me, it may not bother you, was the graphic descriptions of the torture Khalid underwent. I'm conflicted as I write this because I especially found it disturbing. However, I suppose being edgy is necessary to get the point across about just how bad torture is, and how confessions extracted under duress aren't quite real confessions at all.Guantanmo Boy was a compelling read, but THE MESSAGE was a little too loud, clear, and blatant for me. I thought this was an average message read.

Review by

Khalid is a 15-year-old British boy of Asian descent. Born and raised in Rochester, computer-mad Khalid is unhappy that his parents are taking him to Pakistan for a family funeral. But like them he little suspects that making such a trip in early 2002 will have dangerous consequences. Kidnapped, held for several months and tortured in several of the notorious 'secret' CIA prisons, Khalid is eventually transported to Guantanamo Bay. There, along with the other orange-suited inmates, he is subjected to further interrogations, indignities and the mind-numbing routine of a life without meaningful human contact or affection. Losing his faith in humanity and nearly losing his mind altogether, Khalid is eventually given access to a lawyer, thanks to the efforts of his family and friends back home. More than two years after he was first kidnapped, Khalid is released and allowed to go home. A really compelling novel. A little slow in a couple of scenes when Khalid is gradually loosing his mind in prison, but otherwise excellent. Ends on a positive note when Khalid returns to his old high school and talks about his experiences. The message is one of tolerance and acceptance of all people, no matter what they look like.