Even though it's almost summer, I'm reading sad books I should have read by now, like Graveyard Book and Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I'll read House of Night vampire school fun after this heartwrenching story about two close boyhood friends in Afghanistan, Amir and Hassan. Hassan and his father are the servants of Amir and his father, but Hassan and his father are like family to Amir and his father. They both love flying kites together, and Hassan helps Amir win a kite-running tournament, which pleases his distant father. What happens after the tournament, however, changes their lives forever.
Hassan is on his way to return Amir's kite home when he's confronted by Assef, a bully who's tormented Hassan because he's a Hazara, a tribe in Afghanistan that is poor and uneducated. Chasing after Hassan, Amir sees Hassan being bullied and later assaulted by Assef, but says does nothing to stop it and says nothing after they get home. Wracked by guilt, Amir avoids Hassan and wants him to go away. After his birthday party, Amir hides money in Hassan's hut and says he stole it. Surprisingly, Amir's father forgives Hassan, but even more surprisingly, Hassan's father says that they are moving out anyway. In the midst of all this, civil unrest breaks out in Afghanistan, causing Amir and his father to flee their home, which further disrupts Amir's chaotic life.
Kite Runner is an adult novel, but has many themes relevant to teens and should be read by teens 14 and over. The anguish of war, guilt, and intolerance are all important to learn about. If you want an emotional, but beautifully written, book to read this summer, check out Kite Runner (after I return it) under YA FIC HOSSEINI.