I was hugely impressed by this well balanced book, aimed at Young Adults, and with a hard hitting message. In my opinion, it managed to show both sides of the Israeli, Palestinian situation, how each fears the other and suffers as a result. (Although it never actually mentions these countries by name).
Joshua is a teenager, living in Amarias, with his mother and her new husband. His father died serving in the army, but Joshua never understood who he had been fighting against and his father made a point of never leaving the house in his uniform. Liev, Joshua's step-father, is a very different man, who has strong opinions about the threat posed by 'The Other Side'.
When Joshua's football goes over a wall into a building site, he climbs over to retrieve it and stumbles upon a tunnel that stretches beyond the wall into an area that represents The West Bank of Palestine. Of course he can't resist investigating and what he sees and learns from this and subsequent visits, will change him forever.
Not only does this book offer teenage readers a look at both sides, but the main character, Joshua, presents a good moral model, trying his very best to do what he feels is right, even when it is frightening, and even dangerous to do so. Unfortunately not all his actions have favourable outcomes and in this respect the story is very realistic. It reminded me very much of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, both were highly effective novels.
I should mention the excellent narrator, Nicholas Camm, who did an excellent job of reading this novel. Highly recommended to all ages, but particularly effective for teenagers.