Review Detail

Kids Fiction 79
There's No Place Like Home
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Sami has a happy and secure life in Damascus, Syria. His mother is a teacher, his father is a doctor, and he enjoys hanging out with his younger sister Sara and his grandmother, Tete. He is obsessed with video games and doccer, and spends a lot of time with his best friends, Joseph and George. When his mother and sister are injured in a bombing of the local mall while there picking up Sami's new soccer shoes, he is wracked with guilt. Sara stops talking, and soon his mother and father are acting in mysterious ways. They have decided to move, and start selling off furniture and cleaning out their apartment. Sami hopes he will continue to go to his school, and is quite surprised when he learns that the family is leaving the country. He feels that Damascus hasn't been as bad as Aleppo, and doesn't want to leave his friends, his grandmother, or all of his things. Soon, however, the family is involved in a dangerous journey that takes them to Istanbul, on a boat to Greece, on dodgy trucks, and finally on a flight into England. It has taken all of the money the father has saved, and since the family entered the country without proper paperwork, they are arrested and sent to an immigration prison while their paperwork is being sorted out. It helps that they have family friends willing to sponsor them, and the father will be able to work as a doctor, but the prison is a very dangerous place, and they must spend many tedious days waiting for everything to be arranged. Once they get out, they get a frosty welcome from Uncle Muhammad's family in Manchester; his wife Fatimah and son are downright cruel, while Iman is kind to Sara. The house is small, so the Sami and his family are in one room. Sami does find a friend, Ali, at school, although Hassan tries to make his life difficult there, too. Sami tries to e mail his friends and also Aadam, a slightly older boy they met on their journey whom they were only able to help a little. When Aadam shows up in Manchester and Sami brings him home, Fatimah tells the entire family to leave. Things are difficult enough for the parents, who are working in a factory and cleaning houses while waiting for paperwork, and the father yells at Sami. Sami is then determined to go back to Syria, where he feels more at home. Luckily, Ali and Aadam are able to show Sami that things will get better for him in Manchester.
Strengths: In a note at the end of the book, the author explains th
Good Points
In a note at the end of the book, the author explains that she wanted to show a Syrian student who had a much better life in Syria than he has in the UK, and who would rather have stayed that country, but was unable to. This is such an important point, and one which tween readers really need pointed out to them! Sami's love of video games, he obsession with his Nikes, and his unhappiness at being in England are all painfully and realistically explained, and it's very clear that the family did not want to leave the comfortable life they had, but felt they had no choice. There are helpful people along the way, such as David, a guard at the prison, but also people like Hassan who have no sympathy at all. This was a hard book to read, but such an important one. Very well researched and written.

This was an excellent book, and a great companion to Senzai's Escape from Aleppo. That book is set in 2013; this is set in 2015-16, and has great details about how difficult it is from people from war torn countries to even make it to Europe, as well as an in-depth discussion of the challenges faced when they try to settle into a life in another place. Definitely purchasing, and hope that this will be available in paperback so that teachers can use it as a literature circle choice. Add this to the growing number of books about Syrian refugees that includes Warga's Other Words for Home, Ferruolo's Ruby in the Sky, Brown's The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees, Marsh's Nowhere Boy, McLean's Team Fugee, Hitchcock and Senzai's Flying Over Water, Mitchell's Without Refuge, Saaed's Yara's Spring, Rauf's The Boy at the Back of the Class.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

If Only...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bestselling author-illustrator Mies van Hout employs vivid creatures in a...
Like a Giant
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A beautiful story about imagination and taking your time to...
A Rosa Le Encantan Los Carros/Rosa Loves Cars
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Averiguemos con quâe juguetes juegan Rosa y sus amigos hoy!...
The Duck Who Didn't Like Water
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
See a duck take to the water of friendship in...
Goodnight, Little Llama
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Little Llama, who is about to make a very...
The Boy and the Sea
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A picture book meditation on curiosity, wonder, and finding one’s...
In Your Cozy Bed
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
A soothing bedtime board book from the creators of In...
Chicks Rock!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rocker Chick overcomes stage fright to find her voice in...
The Beach (Bluey)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Read along and join Bluey's latest adventure! ...
All About Bluey
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Bluey! This lovable and imaginative Blue Heeler puppy is...
Instructions for Dancing
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The critically...
Jonathan: Prince of Dreams
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Still recovering from the tragic loss of his mother, typical...
Missing the Beat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The dream job? Check. The best friends? Check....
Meeting the Star
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The spotless reputation? Check. The gorgeous movie star?...
Making the Play
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The school of her dreams? Check. The perfect...
Runaway : Immortals of Indriell
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
They claim her mother died a hero. They...

Latest Member Reviews

Curse of the Specter Queen
 
3.7
"CURSE OF THE SPECTER QUEEN was an intriguing YA historical fiction with code-breaking, good friends, and imminent danger. Sam works..."
The Sky Above Us
 
3.7
"What worked: Unique coming-of-age story that tackles grief and tragedy. Told through the eyes of six teens, this story starts..."
Instructions for Dancing
 
5.0
"INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING is an engaging YA contemporary about romance, family, and coming of age. Evie stopped believing in love..."
The Tragedy of Dane Riley
 
4.3
"THE TRAGEDY OF DANE RILEY is a compelling YA contemporary read about family, grief, depression, and mental illness. Dane is..."
The Shadow War
 
3.3
"What worked: Intriguing mix of Sci-fi with historical set during WWII. There is a lot going on in this engaging..."
Kneel
 
5.0
"Russell and his friend Marion live in Louisiana, and hope to use their skills at football to work their way..."
A Season of Sinister Dreams
 
4.3
"A SEASON OF SINISTER DREAMS is an engaging YA fantasy that follows two young women, Evra and Annalise. Annalise lives..."
I Can See Clearly
 
3.3
"Luc Ponti comes from a strong Italian family, and his father (an NCAA point guard, Princeton grad, Special Forces and..."
Fire with Fire
 
4.7
"Dani Rivera may excel at every part of her dragon slaying training, but she would rather focus on being normal..."
Better Together
 
5.0
"BETTER TOGETHER is a delightful and charming YA contemporary read about sisterhood, family, and healing. Siri lives with her mother..."
Get a Clue: A Bookish Boyfriends #4
 
4.3
"In this fourth book set at Reginald R. Hero High, we meet Huck and Win, the brother of Curtis from..."
The Fault In Our Stars
 
5.0
"I had enjoyed this book to great extent. I loved the relationship connection between the two characters and how the..."
The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison, #2)
 
4.7
"THE CRUELEST MERCY is an intriguing second book in an enthralling YA fantasy series. After the rush and danger of..."
Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty, #1)
 
4.0
"What worked: This was a fun take on Crazy Rich Asians meets descendants of Empress Regent of China. Gemma..."
The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious, #4)
 
5.0
"THE BOX IN THE WOODS is a fantastic continuation of Stevie's story with a whole new cold case to solve...."
 
4.7
"Miles "Pudge" Halter seeks for a "Great Perhaps", and attends Culver Creek, a boarding school. Yet, he finds himself with..."
 
5.0
"To say that this book was one of my most anticipated releases for 2021 is an understatement. After the impact..."
 
5.0
"Oh my goodness what a way to end this series! I honestly took a little longer to finish this book..."
 
5.0
"I absolutely loved this sequel. The first one was such a good set up for this book. Nita is free..."
Not Even Bones
 
4.3
"So, this book was not what I was expecting it to be. First, it takes place in the real world...."