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I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch

February 13, 2016

I Will AlwaysCaitlin is an average seventh-grade girl with a comfortable American life. Martin is a smart, hardworking, eighth-grade grade boy living in Zimbabwe. They have never met, but one letter changes both their lives. This dual memoir tells the touching story of two loyal best friends. Over the course of eleven years, Caitlin helps give Martin the education he needs to have a successful life—first in Zimbabwe, then in the US— and through it all they both gain a true friend and a story to share.

I could not put this book down once I began reading! It was hard to believe that a series of letters could change lives. This book made me feel so many emotions: happiness, sadness, hope, and gratitude, but most of all, how fortunate I am for the life I live. I do not have to work to pay for school, I get three full meals everyday, and I don’t have to sleep on a cold, hard floor.

I liked how Alifirenka and Ganda included some of the letters and pictures that they had sent to each other, because it helped me see more into their lives and lifestyles. As a reader I found that the parts about Martin were more compelling and interesting  than the parts about Caitlin because Caitlin’s life was nothing new for me—her life is like mine in some ways—but Martin’s story was new to me. I always wanted to know what was happening in Africa with Martin and his family.

I would recommend this book to both girls and boys because of the male and female protagonists. I gave this memoir five stars, because of how unbelievable this true story is.

Little, Brown and Company, 387 pages

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