Author: Marsh, Katherine
Fourteen-year-old Ahmed lost everything and everyone in Syria's war. Now he struggles on his own in Brussels as a young Syrian refugee. Then he meets Max, an American boy who is lonely and homesick and a friendship begins to grow.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 500529
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 76457
Kirkus Reviews (+) (07/01/18)
School Library Journal (09/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/07/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 06/01/2018 Two boys’ lives intertwine in Belgium during the 2016 Paris and Brussels terror attacks. Ahmed, a Syrian refugee who lost his family, finds an unlocked house and hides for a few nights in the wine cellar. Max, an American boy living abroad in Brussels, discovers Ahmed and pledges to keep him safe. But the boys’ plans are thrown into chaos when the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels occur, and the police and even Max’s family become dangerously suspicious of Muslims and refugees. Marsh paints prejudice and paranoia well and gives credit to young people who work to overcome their biases and listen to others, even when it is difficult. The Belgian, American, and Syrian kids in the story might struggle to communicate with one another because of language barriers, but they nevertheless recognize one another as human beings who deserve not just safety but full, happy lives. A hopeful story about recovery, empathy, and the bravery of young people. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2018 Gr 5–8—Fourteen-year-old Ahmed flees war-torn Syria with his father after a bomb kills the rest of their family. His father jumps from the leaky raft he and other escaping refugees are on to prevent it from sinking in the middle of the Mediterranean. A rogue wave sweeps him away and Ahmed's loss mounts. A fellow refugee takes him in and they eventually join a refugee tent camp in Brussels. But anti-Muslim sentiment is running high in Belgium. When the tent city is shut down, Ahmed, terrified of being returned, runs away and takes shelter in the sub-basement of a home. The home is newly occupied by an American family. Max, the 13-year-old son, is furious with his parents for uprooting him from his friends and forcing him to learn a new language. He becomes intrigued with the history of the house when he learns that a Jewish child was hidden in the basement during World War II. When Max discovers Ahmed and learns his story, the two form a fledgling friendship. Max is not only determined to keep Ahmed hidden, but determined to get him into school. Marsh skillfully weaves the historical parallels with a touching story of friendship. She ratchets up the tension and suspense, until it becomes unbearable; readers will fly through the last hundred pages. VERDICT Thoughtfully touching on immigration, Islamophobia, and terrorism, this novel is a first-purchase. Hands to fans of Alan Gratz's Refugee.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.