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by Amjed Qamar


School Library Journal:

Gr 7–10—After her father’s work injury and her older brother’s disappearance, 14-year-old Nazia is pulled from school to join her mother for exhausting and humiliating work cleaning houses in modern-day Karachi. This change of status jeopardizes the girl’s arranged marriage with her cousin back in their native village. Reminded by her mother of the Prophet Muhammad’s words, “All children know that the gates of heaven lie beneath their mother’s feet,” Nazia is torn between her wish for further education and her need to be a dutiful daughter. Happily, what seems a terrible disgrace eventually frees her for more satisfying possibilities. Along the way, she comes to realize that her mother rightly characterizes the beloved men in her family as unreliable and dishonest, and she helps a boy essentially sold into servitude by his mother to escape; these story threads are not always smoothly woven into the narrative. Nazia’s story is told in a limited third person but occasionally the author’s voice breaks through, explaining her thinking for American readers. This first novel by a Muslim Indian-American provides a fascinating glimpse into a world remarkably distant from that of most American teens, and would be an excellent suggestion for readers who want to know about how other young people live.—Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD –Kathleen Isaacs (Reviewed July 1, 2008) (School Library Journal, vol 54, issue 7, p106)


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10th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Education, Family, Teen, Women's Rights