cover image No Safe Place

No Safe Place

Deborah Ellis, Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-88899-973-3

Ellis (the Breadwinner Trilogy) throws readers into the harrowing experience of migrant teens escaping from different horrors in various corners of the world. Fifteen-year-old Abdul leaves war-torn Baghdad after his family is brutally murdered, winding up in a shantytown in Calais, France, four months later with the aim of reaching England and beginning a new life. His only chance is to take a despicable smuggler's boat and become indebted to him. At sea, he meets Rosalia, a Romani girl who ran from a brothel in Germany, and Cheslav, a passionate trumpet player dodging the Siberian military. The trio is forced to work together to survive the treacherous waters and to keep the smuggler's ill nephew alive, but their haunted pasts have hardened them, preventing easy friendships. "There always seemed to be one more thing. Solve one problem, and another one cropped up," Abdul reflects. Flashbacks involving the effects of war and poverty on communities and families drive this fast-paced and heart-wrenching narrative, which deals honestly with countless harsh realities. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)