Fourteen-year-old Shauzia dreams of seeing the ocean and eventually making a new life in France, but it is hard to reconcile that dream with the terrible conditions of the Afghan refugee camp where she lives. Making things worse is the camp’s leader, Mrs. Weera, whose demands on Shauzia make her need to escape all the more urgent. Her decision to leave necessitates Shauzia dress like a boy, as her friend Parvana did, to earn money to buy passage out. But her journey becomes a struggle to survive as she's forced to beg and pick through garbage, eventually landing in jail. An apparent rescue by a well-meaning American family gives her hope again, but will it last? And where will she end up?
This is such a beautiful story. Although this book is part of a series, I don't think that you have to read the first two books to understand what's going on in this one.
The heart of this story is so touching and it helps to move the story along at a nice pace. The story really makes you think of the consequences that come from war are.
Shauzia's character is well written and I found myself willing her on in her journey. Every single one of her actions was understandable and the only difference is if I was in those situations I wouldn't have the courage to do what she did.
I found that I had tears in my eyes as I read the last few pages. I won't say what happened but it was such abrave thing for the characters to do that and if anyone has really done that then I am in awe of you.
5 stars - This is one of those rare books that is filled with a sorrowful story that won't let you go. It's a really quick read, there are less than 200 pages and I read it in a couple of hours, but they were a couple of the best hours of my day with Shauzia's story playing like a movie in my head.
A Final Note
There is a bit of violence but as the story is set in Pakistan, a country that ended up with refugees from Afghanistan it's understandable. Just in case you're interested the first two books are:
They're also both stunningly beautiful books that should be read.
- Book Summary from Goodreads
- Images from Google