for A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master
In northern India in 1947, thirteen-year-old Bilal’s father, a man who believes that a united and free India is not only possible but essential, is dying of cancer. When the decision for Partition is finalized, Bilal decides to hide the truth from his father, thinking it will break the man’s heart. That means keeping news and visitors out of the house. His three best friends—Saleem, whose family is Muslim like Bilal’s, Chota, and Manjeet, whose family is Sikh—all willingly help him out. As Bilal and his friends work to keep visitors away, the unraveling of trust within their larger community becomes apparent as former friends and neighbors become further and further divided along religious lines and violence escalates. Bilal’s older brother—rarely around and caught up in separationist fervor—shows up occasionally to encourage Bilal to take their father to the new Pakistan before Partition. But Bilal refuses. Author Irfan Master’s story is told with immediacy and insight into how Partition ripped India apart in a way that was far more profound than geography in a story that is deeply felt and moving. (Age 11 and older)
CCBC Choices 2013. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013. Used with permission.
"Everybody lies. We all do it. Many years ago I told one lie that has taken on a life of its own." In India in 1947 the country is coming apart-and so is thirteen-year-old Bilal's life. He is determined to protect his dying father from the news of Partition, news that he knows will break his father's heart. With spirit and determination, and with the help of his good friends, Bilal builds an elaborate deception, even printing false pages of the local newspaper to hide the signs of national unrest. All Bilal wants is for his father to die in peace. But that means Bilal has a very complicated relationship with the truth. This extraordinarily rich debut novel brings to life a key moment in history and touches on the importance of tolerance, love and family.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.