I typically try to stay away from books that make me painfully aware of how terrible the world is. I know that there are countries that face tragedy daily, but I hate thinking about it. That probably makes me a bad person or something, but it seriously makes my heart ache. While we're on the subject of aching hearts, Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron put a few cracks in this cold, cold heart of mine.
Jean Patrick Nkuba is a Tutsi teenager who is a very gifted runner. The book opens in 1994, President Habyarimana has just seized power and states that he will make Rwanda whole again, which we all know is an empty promise. He notices Jean Patrick's talent and quickly seizes the opportunity to help the boy train for the Olympic team to show the world that good can come from their torn nation. Jean Patrick was used as a sign of unity. Throughout the book, tension between the Tutsi and Hutu's rise, leading up to the real-life genocide which left no one safe, not even Jean Patrick. Benaron's main focus was Jean Patrick and his running. She doesn't get terribly violent in her writing, which I appreciated greatly. You can still feel the dread rising as the story progresses, and as you watch the sacrifices made by these people, you will probably cry a little.