Brutal, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful


Amir, an Afghani emigre, narrates his life's story. In the 1980s, he came to live in the United States. The story flashes back to the 1960s and 1970s, when he lived in Kabul with Baba (his father); Hassan, who is a servant and his best friend; and Hassan's father. Desperate for his father's affection, Amir enters a kite-flying contest. When he wins, he sends Hassan to go get it for him. On the way to Amir, Hassan is stopped and Amir watches the brutal violence against his friend, but does not interfere or save him. As the book continues, Amir's guilt about this and other traumas affect his perspectives.  Amir struggles to come to grips with his betrayal of Hassan, and he retuns to Kabul after he learns of his friend's death. 

BTSYA Teen Reader (16):
The Kite Runner is full of both hope and grief. Reading this book requires emotional maturity because of its themes of death, suicide, and poverty. It also deals with heavy emotions. The story showcases how family secrets can haunt someone, and how guilt can change a person. Somehow, throughout all of that, it manages to keep a hopeful tone for the future.

The story touches on friendship, betrayal, warfare, and race, but with a plot that is easy to follow. It is well paced to keep the reader interested but without overwhelming them with dtetail. This is a book for young adults, and I read it for a high school class. This book is more fun to read when you’re able to discuss the events in the book with others, so reading it with a friend or two may be a great option.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who like to "dig deep" into characters and their psyche will find Amir a fascinating person to follow. 

Content Awareness Factors:

The story includes profanity, violence, and sexual situations. 

Type of Book:
This is a semi-autobiographical story set during the Afghanistan War.
Educational Themes:

There is a lot to unpack in this historical fiction novel. if your teen is reading this, we suggest you read it as well. This is a heavy story and they should have someone to talk with about it.

Afghani culture and the impact of the fighting is one set of discussions, but most of the discussion will most likely center around specific events and how the characters reactived to them individually and with each other. Relationship dynamics - the caste system, father-son relationships - also are key discussion points.  

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
16 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16

Title The Kite Runner
Author Khaled Hosseini
Publisher Riverhead Books © 2013
ISBN 9781594631931
Material Paperback
Cost $12.27
Genres Family, Cultures and Tradition, Asia | Asian People
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