I saw this book in Starbucks and couldn't resist the cover. At first I thought it was about one of the lost boys from the Sudan, but it is not. It's Beah's memoir about his life in Sierra Leone. His family falls prey to the rebels who are trying to overthrow what they consider to be a corrupt government. Ishmael, who is 12 at the time, is away in a neighboring village getting ready to perform American rap music with some buddies. He hears of the attack from people who are able to escape. Thus begins his journey from a child to a refugee of war - facing imminent death at each new village until the villagers realize he is just a boy searching for safe harbor.
If memory serves me Sierra Leone is the place depicted in Blood Diamond. And in fact the methods used by the rebels seem right on target with what was depicted in the movie. Beah is terrified of being caught by the rebels (his brother is and he never sees him again) because even if he escapes they will mark him if he is captured by branding their initials in his forehead or cutting off limbs - so even if he escapes, he would be exiled as a member of the rebel forces. The rebels routinely kidnapped young boys and forced them to join the movement and kill - like in Blood Diamond.
I'm not sure if he gets captured but by the title "a boy soldier" I'm guessing he does. It's been a pretty good book so far - AND if you buy it at Starbucks, they will donate a percentage of the proceeds to UNICEF (though it does cost more than on Amazon).