A Cave in the Clouds: A Young Woman's Escape from ISIS

248p. Annick. Apr. 2019. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781773212340; Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781773212357.
RedReviewStarGr 6–10—This is a story of terror, suffering, loss, survival, and hope, but most of all it is a human story that makes the stuff of international headlines deeply personal and immediately real. It focuses on Badeeah, a teenage girl living in the Ezidi village of Kocho in Iraq, using her own words and memories. In August 2014, Badeeah's village is invaded by ISIS militants. The women of the village are separated from the men and sent away to the nearby town of Solakh. Separated from her sisters and mother, the young woman must protect her nephew even as she is sent to Syria and sold as a sabaya, or war slave. Depictions of murders, beatings, kidnappings, and sexual assaults appear throughout this book. However, the grim depictions of brutality and destruction are interspersed with Badeeah's memories of her loved ones, descriptions of the other girls and women that she encounters, and the folktales that she recounts to sustain (and distract) her nephew Eivan. The narrative is authentic, even graphic, in its detail—but it is also poetic and beautiful.
VERDICT Though consideration should be made for readers' maturity and sensitivity due to subject matter, this first-person narrative account of a young woman's escape from ISIS is highly recommended for all junior high and high school library collections.

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