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Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala
Beasts of No Nation tells the story of Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African nation, who sees his father killed by a militia. Agu is captured by a rival guerilla leader called Commandant. He's convinced to join his ragtag band of armed boys, but it's a brutal life. Not only is Agu sexually abused and starved, but he is taught to murder and brutalize others. Each killing leaves him more numb than the one before, losing his own sense of self in the process. He's a killing machine manipulated by others, as are the other boys forced to live the same life. It's a crescendo of violence and way of life that seems to have no escape except death. Uzodinma Iweala's debut novel has received positive reviews with The Independent saying, "This book about children that is in no sense a children's book deserves to be read, particularly by those with strong stomachs and the inclination to encounter some of the more horrific lows that exist in the world today."