Sisters of the War: Two Remarkable True Stories of Survival and Hope in Syria

Scholastic/Scholastic Focus. Sept. 2020. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338551129.
Gr 7 Up–Journalist Abouzeid, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants who was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, chronicles the stories of two sets of sisters growing up under the rule of President Bashar Hafez al-Assad in Syria. Ten-year-old Lojayn, eight-year-old Hanin, and six-year-old Jawa live on the fringes of Damascus. Nine-year-old Ruha, eight-year-old Alaa, and two-year-old Tala live in Saraqeb, which is about four hours away from the city. Both sets of sisters deal with the devastating effects of war and the trauma and devastation it brings to their families. This narrative nonfiction account details the horrors of murder, bombings, kidnapping, and the authoritarian government under which they are forced to survive. Throughout all of it, they retain hope for themselves and their country. Abouzeid’s meticulous, firsthand reporting is extraordinary. She also describes the history of Syria and the control the Assad family has held for almost 50 years. An author’s note at the conclusion of the text details the lengths Abouzeid undertook to provide the reporting that went into the creation of this book.
VERDICT An important, incredibly gripping account of two families and two sets of sisters who were affected by the civil war in Syria.

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