by Atia Abawi
How do I begin to describe the incredible journey this book will take you on. It is heart wrenching raw story. It doesn’t hold back any punches the author describes the horrors of war, living in a constant state of violence while trying to stay alive. Tareq is just a normal teenage boy living a life that no teenager or anyone wants to live. He lives in Syria where he has seen bombings, lost friends, seen his beloved city torn apart literally and figuratively. He still has his family: mom, dad, younger brother, little sister and twin baby siblings and grandma lives with them as well. All that changes in the blink of an eye when bombs are dropped on their apartment complex. Dad was at work and rushes home to find the devastation. The dad decides it’s time to leave and head to Europe while the family he has still can. Part one is graphic and very raw. He witness’s an execution and beheading. I had a hard time reading it, I had to put it down at times. It made me mad, sad, uncomfortable but I should feel all those emotions. If I didn’t I’d be very worried about me. No one should have to witness that. I kept picking it up because I was wrapped up in the story and I had to know what happened to Tareq. I wanted to make sure him and his family made it to safety. Part two of the book enters a new cast of characters. Some are aid workers and you get a backstory for one in particular. She went to Greece for a vacation but got so moved by the refugee’s that she put college on hold and joined an organization that helped the refugees once they made is safely to shore. Alexia is a very likable girl with a heart of gold. You also get to meet two girls from Najib and Jamila they are escaping Afghanistan. They are all that they have left of their family. They are trying to make it Germany to live with an aunt. They become fast friends with Tareq and his younger sister Susan. Maybe all hope isn’t lost, they forge a friendship and maybe even can fall in love during all the despair they are experiencing. The romance was nothing so don’t worry this isn’t a YA romance novel. This is a refugee story like none I’ve read in the YA genre. I know this story will stay with me. I can’t get Tareq, Susan, Najib, and Jamila out of my head. This author is new to me and she has written another book called The Secret Sky that I’ll be checking out. This is YA, usually most YA can be for a middle grade. It is graphic and a very real raw story so if your middle grade reader wants to read this I’d read it first. I’d give this to a 9th grade and up no problems. This would be a book I think everyone should read at some point. The author gives a very realistic peek inside the life of a refugee and what they go through to survive and find a place they can call home after losing everything near and dear to them.
About the Book: Narrated by Destiny, this heartbreaking — and timely — story of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria is masterfully told by a foreign news correspondent who experienced the crisis firsthand.
In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.
In the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.
But while this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss. Destiny narrates this heartbreaking story of the consequences of war, showing the Syrian conflict as part of a long chain of struggles spanning through time.
About the Author:
Atia Abawi is a foreign news correspondent who was stationed for almost five years in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was born to Afghan parents in West Germany and was raised in the United States. Her first book for teens was the powerful Secret Sky, about forbidden romance between different ethnic tribes. She currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Conor Powell, and their son, Arian, where she covers stories unfolding in the middle east and the surrounding areas.
Thank you so much Penguin Teen for sending me a copy of A Land of Permanent Goodbyes for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.