Ethan Wynkoop was, of course, looking forward to the summer break after his sophomore year of high school, but he probably could not have expected that nine short days would change his life forever. It all started when his friend Ti-Anna Chen shared the story of how her father, a political activist exiled from his native China, went to Hong Kong for a mysterious trip and promptly disappeared. Ti-Anna had already decided to go and investigate against her mother’s wishes, and Ethan was not about to let her go unaccompanied. Despite the fact that anything and everything could go wrong for two teenagers traveling to China on a whim, Ethan and Ti-Anna set out to try and locate her father.
"NINE DAYS is based off the true story of the real Ti-Anna, whose father was kidnapped in Vietnam...After Ti-Anna’s father was sentenced to life in prison, Ti-Anna has worked tirelessly to campaign for his release."
Leaving the United States and getting into China was actually the easy part. The hard part was following the breadcrumb clues to find Ti-Anna’s father. This meant forming uneasy alliances with people Ethan and Ti-Anna had never met and didn’t know they could trust, and Ethan always felt like someone was watching their every move. Ti-Anna was determined, though, and not even little threats like someone breaking into their hotel room or following them while they traveled through Hong Kong would deter her from searching for her father. Ethan was left with no choice but to support Ti-Anna.
The first couple of days are spent meeting with people Ti-Anna knows her father would have came and seen when he first arrived. This includes a local businessman who gave them a clue to their next destination: the leader of an underground worker’s movement. It is through him that they meet their first roadblock. The man won’t even speak to them or even acknowledge their presence. Ti-Anna, though, is nothing but unwavering and eventually wins him over with her compassion and drive to find her father. This man eventually tells them that if Ti-Anna wants to find her father, she and Ethan will have to find a way into Vietnam.
Vietnam is where Ethan and Ti-Anna’s seemingly harebrained plan falls apart. Even though they make contact with a woman who fights against the enslavement of young girls and promises to help Ti-Anna and Ethan however she can, the people who kidnapped Ti-Anna’s father are not too pleased to find out Ti-Anna is in the country and asking questions. Ethan watches helplessly in horror as Ti-Anna places her life in danger and doesn’t know what to do. With no one even remotely aware of where Ethan and Ti-Anna are or what they are doing, Ethan is afraid that Ti-Anna will disappear forever --- just like her father.
NINE DAYS is based off the true story of the real Ti-Anna, whose father was kidnapped in Vietnam after meeting with labor activists to create nonviolent protests against the Chinese government. After Ti-Anna’s father was sentenced to life in prison, Ti-Anna has worked tirelessly to campaign for his release. Her story was first published in The Washington Post and Ti-Anna also updates readers with her current efforts at the end of this inspiration novel.
Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on May 3, 2013