The devastating events of 9/11 intertwine with the stories of Alia Susanto, a 16-year-old Muslim girl in Brooklyn, and Jesse McLaurin, a white 17-year-old who readers meet as she is spray-painting “terrorists go home” on the Islam Peace Center that is opening in her New York State town. In 2001, Alia explores her faith while dreaming of becoming a comic book author, culminating with a visit to the World Trade Center. In 2016, Jesse’s older brother, Travis, has been dead for 15 years; her family never learned why he was in one of the Twin Towers when they fell, and she feels helpless in the face of her parents’ enduring grief and anger. After the fallout from her act of vandalism, Jesse digs into what really happened to Travis, reaching some surprising and heartbreaking conclusions. Scenes of Alia and Travis attempting to escape the collapsing buildings are harrowing and realistic, highlighting bravery and courage against impossible odds. Mills (Positively Beautiful) movingly examines how easily pain can metastasize into hate, while demonstrating the power of compassion, hope, and forgiveness with equal force. Ages 13–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2016 Release date: 08/09/2016 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.