Nicholas Maes is a high school history teacher and teaches classics at the University of Waterloo. His previous novels for young people are Crescent Star, Locksmith, and Transmigration. Maes' first Felix Taylor Adventure was Laughing Wolf, which was nominated for the Snow Willow Award. He lives in Toronto.
Short-listed for the 2012 Coast Reads
Avi Greenbaum is Jewish and lives in West Jerusalem. Moussa Shakir is Palestinian and lives in East Jerusalem. Both are 15 years old, live without their fathers, adore their older brothers, and belong to the same soccer club. Avi commemorates the Holocaust and celebrates Israeli independence, while Moussa mourns on Nakba Day, marking the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948. Their lives are parallel lines: they have everything in common and nothing at all. Each is oblivious to the others existence.
As Avi and Moussa go about their daily routines in the spring of 2006, they face reminders of the conflict that has dogged the region for the past three generations the security wall, suicide bombings, police operations, and the looming shadow of war. While navigating this legacy of suspicion and violence, they must decide what their own roles in the stalemate will be.
Maes helps readers decipher some of the puzzle that is the Arab-Israeli conflict by introducing them to Hamas and Hezbollah, familiarizing them with places such as Gaza and Lebanon, and providing a glossary of both Arabic and Hebrew words which are used throughout the book. He has a gift for vivid description which places readers in a world which is foreign both politically and geographically and yet which illustrates both the best and the worst of the human condition.
"Maes also does an excellent job of keeping the authors voice neutral, allowing his characters to act as guides for the reader. Through their eyes, readers discover there are many shades of grey to every conflict, and gain deeper insight into why each side feels as they do.This is not an easy topic to tackle, and it is handled with exceptional fairness and eloquence in Crescent Star."
"Crescent Star paints a vivid portrait of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and does so in a fair and sympathetic way. At the same time, both Avid and Moussa are depicted as typical questioning teens, unsure if the path their parents have laid out is right for them. The only difference is, instead of fighting their parents for more personal freedom at home, theyre preparing to wage war in the streets."
"Maes has taken this topic and made it come to life in a way that readers will appreciate."