Synopses & Reviews
An eye-opening, heart-rending tale of love, honor and betrayal from veteran foreign news correspodent Atia Abawi
Fatima is a Hazara girl, raised to be obedient and dutiful. Samiullah is a Pashtun boy raised to defend the traditions of his tribe. They were not meant to fall in love. But they do. And the story that follows shows both the beauty and the violence in current-day Afghanistan as Fatima and Samiullah fight their families, their cultures and the Taliban to stay together. Based on the people Atia Abawi met and the events she covered during her nearly five years in Afghanistan, this stunning novel is a must-read for anyone who has lived during America's War in Afghanistan.
Perfect for fans of Patricia McCormick, Linda Sue Park, and Khaled Hosseini, this story will stay with readers for a long time to come.
Praise for THE SECRET SKY
* "Disturbing depictions of physical, emotional, and sexual violence against women, men, and children, both within families and between different groups, contrast with extravagant acts of courage, kindness, and sacrifice....A suspenseful, enlightening, and hopeful love story."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Riveting plot, sympathetic characters and straightforward narration studded with vivid, authentic detail: a top choice."--Kirkus Reviews
"Abawi writes with a gentle hand" in "this heartbreaking rendering of forbidden love."--Booklist
"[A] fascinating, if disturbing, examination of what Abawi calls in her authors note a 'traditionally conservative society' faced with globalization and modernity."--BCCB
"[The Secret Sky is] a tale of the indomitable Afghan spirit of hope and love. Among the many novels set in Afghanistan for young people or for adults, The Secret Sky stands alone. Unputdownable. Unforgettable."--Trent Reedy, author of Words in the Dust
The Secret Sky brilliantly captures the magic and the heartbreak of Afghanistan as only someone rooted in its mystery can....This first novel by a top foreign correspondent has the authenticity of raw journalism and the poetry of a gifted writer. A must read for anyone who wants to understand the contradictions of the Afghan soul.”--Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and anchor of Andrea Mitchell Reports
A riveting tale written from the heart....This powerful love story will leave you angry at injustice, and awed by courage. It shocks and inspires.”--Lyse Doucet, Chief International Correspondent, BBC
The Secret Sky is an amazing combination of utterly searing and beautifully romantic. It was like reading The Kite Runnera gripping story that gave insight to this brutal yet magical culture.”--Daphne Benedis-Grab, author of The Girl in the Wall
"In his first novel, Reedy, a former soldier in Afghanistan, examines the restrictive experiences of contemporary Afghan girls through sympathetic 13-year-old narrator Zulaikha. Zulaikha's cleft palate makes her an object of ridicule for local merchants, bullies, and even her younger brother. Although Zulaikha's disability often relegates her to a serving and observing role, it allows her more freedom to leave her home than her 15-year-old sister, Zeynab, who will soon wed. Contact outside Zulaikha's family provides compelling insights for Zulaikha, such as her ad hoc education by Meena, a professor who knew and taught Zulaikha's bookish mother (a proclivity that led to her death), and with the American soldiers who offer to operate on her lip and teeth. 'Even with the swelling, I looked almost normal. And I had the Americans, as ignorant and wasteful as they were, to thank.' Within the family, the evolution of key relationships presents a nuanced look at family dynamics and Afghan culture. Though unsentimental and fraught with tragedy, Reedy's narrative offers hope and will go a long way toward helping readers understand the people behind the headlines. Ages 9 14. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
In the tradition of SHABANU, DAUGHTER OF THE WIND and THE BREADWINNER, a beautiful debut about a daughter of Afghanistan discovering new friends and opportunities after the defeat of the Taliban.
Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her--"Inshallah," God willing.
Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to her village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha--but can she dare to hope they'll come true?
In the tradition of "Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind" and "The Breadwinner" comes a beautiful debut about a daughter of Afghanistan discovering new friends and opportunities after the defeat of the Taliban.
About the Author
Trent Reedy became fascinated with Afghanistan when he served there with the U. S. Army in 2004-2005. Upon his return to the United States, he enrolled in the Writing for Children MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he wrote the first drafts of this book. Born and raised in Iowa, where he taught high school English, Trent and his wife now live in Washington state.