Synopses & Reviews
On a military base in post-Taliban Afghanistan, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue to her identity is a tattered shoulder bag containing papers that refer to people named Shauzia, Nooria, Leila, Asif, Hassan — and Parvana.
In this long-awaited sequel to The Breadwinner Trilogy, Parvana is now fifteen years old. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Reunited with her mother and sisters, she has been living in a village where her mother has finally managed to open a school for girls. But even though the Taliban has been driven from the government, the country is still at war, and many continue to view the education and freedom of girls and women with suspicion and fear.
As her family settles into the routine of running the school, Parvana, a bit to her surprise, finds herself restless and bored. She even thinks of running away. But when local men threaten the school and her family, she must draw on every ounce of bravery and resilience she possesses to survive the disaster that kills her mother, destroys the school, and puts her own life in jeopardy.
A riveting page-turner, Deborah Elliss new novel is at once harrowing, inspiring and thought-provoking. And, yes, in the end, Parvana is reunited with her childhood friend, Shauzia.
"In this follow-up to the Breadwinner trilogy, set five years later, Ellis revisits her strong, 15-year-old heroine, now living in post-Taliban Afghanistan. The novel alternates between Parvana's struggles in an American prison (she is a suspect in an explosion at her mother's school) and flashbacks to her life before capture, first as a student at the school and then as a teacher. Though Parvana understands and reads English fluently, she refuses to speak ('She knew she could not trust them. All she could trust was herself'), silently enduring sleep deprivation and harsh interrogation. In the flashbacks, Ellis strongly sketches family tensions, including a betrayal by Parvana's sister Noori and Parvana's complicated relationship with her mother. A scene in which Parvana's discovery of an injured American soldier foils her near-escape underscores her compassion and morality. The resolution is perhaps too tidy, but Ellis succeeds in putting a human face on the headlines and the brutality of the Afghan war, while answering many questions about the fate of a heroine whose personality and force of will shine through. Ages 11 up. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for The Breadwinner:
"Newberry Medal worthy . . . This was a fantastic read. Washington Times
A Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2012
"This passionate volume stands on its own, though readers new to the series and to Ellis' overall body of work will want to read every one of her fine, important novels. Readers will learn much about the war in Afghanistan even as they cheer on this feisty protagonist." Kirkus, starred review
"This sequel to the series is not merely an important book about the difficulty of girls' lives in war-torn, U.S.-occupied Afghanistan. It is also an example of vivid storytelling with a visceral sense of place, loss, distrust, and hope." School Library Journal, starred review
Ellis succeeds in putting a human face on the headlines and the brutality of the Afghan war, while answering many questions about the fate of a heroine whose personality and force of will shine through." Publishers' Weekly
About the Author
is the award-winning author of the international bestseller, The Breadwinner Trilogy.
She lives in Simcoe, Ontario.