She thinks that she is ordinary and she is also struggling with the loss of her mother. She doesn't have the closest relationship with her Dad and stepmom, but she is definitely acting out. I felt for her pain, and for her confusion and longing for attention and have been there in certain ways myself. I ate up all of her memories of her mother and really enjoyed how that was woven into the story, however painful and emotional.
Once her and her family were hostages, I really found myself experiencing a high range of emotions with them, and not wanting to put the book down, but to read just one more page. The pirates had a range of personalities and their own codes of behavior. I begrudgingly ended up respecting Ahmad, the leader in some ways, and surprised myself by how much I enjoyed the character of Farouz. As he and Amy talk and share their stories, his is so complex and it is not so cut and dry anymore that he is purely a bad guy. Sure, he is doing bad things to people, but I'd never really considered motivations behind their actions.
The plot was pretty layered and touched on a lot, depression, forbidden love, and questions of the future. The theme of family is strong in this one, showing the many different ways loyalty and sacrifice can look like. How we carry memories in our hearts, how it hurts to remember, but they are also a source of strength. But it also shows how painful it can be to have attachments and what we can be forced to do.
The ending is pretty well done, and I can't think of any other way that it could possibly be realistic. It is bittersweet, but laced with hope and the ever present pain, but learning to heal and let go.
Bottom Line: Fast paced and emotional.