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Shooting Kabul

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  3,201 Ratings  ·  625 Reviews
In the summer of 2001, twelve year old Fadi’s parents make the difficult decision to illegally leave Afghanistan and move the family to the United States. When their underground transport arrives at the rendezvous point, chaos ensues, and Fadi is left dragging his younger sister Mariam through the crush of people. But Mariam accidentally lets go of his hand and becomes los ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (first published June 22nd 2009)
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Emmett This book is so good! the Sister gets lost behind in Afghanistan when there is a huge rush to get on a smuggling bus that will go past the border to…moreThis book is so good! the Sister gets lost behind in Afghanistan when there is a huge rush to get on a smuggling bus that will go past the border to Pakistan to escape Taliban rule. All about how to find the sister.SUPER GOOD!!!!!(less)
N.H. Senzai Depends on your 11 year old and maturity level, but yes -- thought I'm biased :)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Brian Kelley
Jul 01, 2012 Brian Kelley rated it really liked it
After reading multicultural titles Bamboo People, by Mitali Perkins; The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez; and Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai, I started to become critical of the books I made available to my students. I took stock of my classroom library--several hundred titles--it was lacking in variety. Where were the multicultural books? Where were the books that appeal to boy readers? Where were the books that could challenge my best readers? For each category I could think of, ...more
Dec 18, 2010 Vehlers rated it it was amazing
As a jh reading teacher who is trying to cover a multi-cultural classroom, I am going to teach this as a unit. This book covers stereotypes, bravery, family love and loyalty in a refreshing book for teens. Thanks N.H. Senzai for giving me a platform that will definitely impact students (EVEN boys!). By the way....I NEVER cry....I was crying!!!! That is quite the accomplishment. I couldn't put the book down and finished it in a few hours.
Ms. Rose
Mar 15, 2012 Ms. Rose rated it it was amazing
As a middle school English teacher, I found this book so impressive, especially for the audience for which it is written. The book covers issues of racism, classism, bullying, guilt, and loss (to name a few.) The story was incredible and while this is a short read for an adult I loved every moment of it and can't wait to share it with my high-readers!
 Miu Miu
Nov 10, 2015 Miu Miu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is about a family fleeing from a chaotic situation, but lost their beloved sister Mariam along the way. Fadi is heartbroken and is trying to find every way possible to get his sister back, and along the way there were huge accidents that affected both him and his family. Will he find his sister, or live his entire life without her? Loving, amazing, well-written true immigrant experience. - Miu Miu :D
Feb 21, 2011 Shazzer rated it really liked it
As posted on Outside of a Dog:

There are some books that carry so much weight, it’s miraculous they get off the ground at all. It can be story weight or character weight, or outside weight from press or advertising. Mockingbird was a very weighty book. Katherine Erskine had to juggle Asperger’s Syndrome, a dead sibling and a community recovering from a school shooting, and I think that the weight of it all put together caused the book to drag its feet on the ground, unable to hold it all in. Shoo
Brooke H
Jan 28, 2016 Brooke H rated it it was amazing
What was the biggest decision in your life? How difficult was it? Was it as difficult as leaving everything behind and not knowing if you'll be alive the next day?In the book, Shooting Kabul
by N. H. Senzai, Fadi's parents made a very difficult decision to leave their past life behind in Afghanistan and start a new chapter in their life in America. Fadi's mother is sick and needs better health care, and the Taliban wants Fadi's father to join their group. On the day of their escape, they go throu
Sep 26, 2013 Maggie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai is an enthralling story -- based off a true one -- about the strength of bonds between siblings and a family, hope, and perseverance against all odds. It is a truly inspiring, amazing book, and I would recommend it to almost anyone.

The story begins in Kabul, Afghanistan, home of the main character, Fadi, and his family -- younger sister Mariam, older sister Noor, and his mother and father. His family had left Afghanistan for America so his father could get a PhD, bu
Aug 30, 2010 Angela rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
My Kid/Teen Critics say to read this one.

I really loved this book. It was about a boy and his family escaping from Afghanistan before 9/11. Everything is going well, until his little sister gets lost in the scramble to get on a bus out. Once they get to America, the boy tries to figure out a way to get his sister back, while suffering teasing at school. I highly recommend it to anyone older than ten.
Reviewed by: Anne Age:13
Alison Strandell
Jul 22, 2016 Alison Strandell rated it really liked it
This story opened my eyes to some of the culture and people of Afghanistan, including in this case a family who came to America for a safer life. The theme that all members of our diverse human race deserve a fair chance at happiness and success is so important. Also, the novel kept me guessing and had a clever ending.
Oct 13, 2014 Joeben rated it really liked it
Fadi was just a normal kid with a normal life in afganistan, when the Taliban arrives they flee to america. But when 9/11 happens, every thing goes downhill as the search for his little sister gets a lot more complicated.
Kendrew Mao
Feb 04, 2017 Kendrew Mao rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I had been attracted to this novel due to having previously read The Kite Runner, Shooting Kabul by N.H Senzai is its own uniquely captivating story of a family's struggle, hope, diversity, and cultural prejudice.

The story begins in Kabul, Afghanistan where the protagonist Fadi lives with his father Habib, mother Zafoona, and siblings Noor and Mariam. Fadi’s family had previously left Afghanistan so Habib could complete his Ph.D. in agriculture, but had returned to help the Taliban and
Cesar Cruz
Oct 27, 2016 Cesar Cruz is currently reading it
The story, " Shooting Kabul" is a about a boy and his family. THis book goes through the sad adventure and the struggels they went through. 11-year-old Fadi and his family gently and silenty board a truck.THey did this to begin their escape from Afghanistan. When they were geting onto the tall truck, His six-year-old sister, Mariam lets go of her brother's hand and is tragically left behind. This part in the story made me have empthay for the poor girl. How frightend she would be. How she would ...more
Victoria Ventura

This book is shows the true meaning of love, hope, fear, and what family true is. Five stars across the boards!
Dec 13, 2013 Meaghan rated it really liked it
I think 9-to-12s would really like this story, although it wasn't the best young adult novel I'd ever read. For the criticisms:

1. I think the ending would have been much more effective without the epilogue, which just seemed anticlimatic to me.
2. Fadi should have been showing a lot more culture shock -- for a kid raised in Afghanistan moving to San Francisco, he acts with remarkable aplomb. Even making allowances for his Western-influenced family, I found it unbelievable. The same applies to the
Jenny Zimmerman
Jan 02, 2017 Jenny Zimmerman rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It's a good sort of entry-level novel to the topic of Afghanistan for my students. I could see students reading this one first and moving on to Kite Runner and other stories from there. I think the story is powerful and important. I am excited for my students to read this novel. It is one of the books I recently got funded for my classroom on Donors Choose. Students will be able to choose this one for literature circles, and I think they'll like it. I hope it opens their eyes ...more
Jan 03, 2017 Mirabelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2nd-quarter
"Shooting Kabul" was one of the best books I have ever read! The story line is amazing, the characters are interesting and the whole situation just sucks you in. I literally became addicted to that book because you get to feel what immigrants and people who don't fit in feel like. I really learned a lot from that book about feelings and Afghanistan. On top of that, N.H. Senzai does an amazing job portraying the characters! This is definitely a must-read!
Sep 20, 2010 Zara rated it it was amazing
Shooting Kabul is probably one of the most loving and compassionate novels I have ever read. A family living in Afghanistan during the time when the Afghans and the Soviet Union were at war. With the Taliban threatening everyone, Fadi's family decides to leave Afghanistan illegally. They travel to Jalalabad to catch a ride to Peshawar, Pakistan. When the truck arrives to take them to Peshawar, Maraim, Fadi's little sister, is left behind, due to Fadi's mistake of letting go of her hand. The rest ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Per-Nik rated it really liked it
Fadi is a boy stuck in Afghanistan and all he wants to do is get out, but when his family tries to escape the Taliban attack the meeting point for the traffickers and his little sister is left behind. So when he gets to the US, Fadi tries multiple times to try and find solutions to finding his sister. One day he discovers a photography competition and enters hoping to get the grand prize which is a trip to India. A chance to find his sister. He doesn't receive the prize in the end, but when he g ...more
Oct 25, 2016 Daelin rated it it was amazing
N.H. Senzai is one of my favorite writers. She is an expert at capturing and communicating the emotions of the characters in her stories. I could feel their feelings as if they were my own. I cried over her descriptions of the tragedies in Afghanistan. The story teaches an important lesson about blaming yourself for things you had no control over, and how that can affect people's lives. I would recommend this book to anyone over age 10. It night be too intense and sad for younger kids.
Eliza Abady
Dec 29, 2016 Eliza Abady rated it really liked it
LOVE this book!
Nov 21, 2016 Ben rated it it was amazing
Very emotional and thought provoking. great for younger kids in book clubs (I read it with my daughter for a book club.)
Edward Sullivan
Jun 15, 2010 Edward Sullivan rated it really liked it
Appealing story about Afghan refugees who escape the oppression of the Taliban shortly before the September 11th attacks.
Dec 14, 2016 Ethan rated it really liked it
i'm hovering between 3.5 to 4 stars for this one. overall it was an enjoyable read, and the writing flowed easily and suited the book and its main character. i really liked the idea of the story and the ending that everything can work out even when it doesn't seem likely.

i did have some problem with our main character, fadi. he was kind of annoying and while his frustration and self-hatred was understandable, it got irking when every ten pages he kept going 'i've failed mariam again' and 'i've
Alex Baugh
When the Taliban first started to change things in Afghanistan, people welcomed them. At the time, Fadi Nurzai and his family - father Habib, mother Zafoona, older sister Noor and young sister Mariam - were living in the United States. Fadi's father had an American PhD and spoke English, and believing he could help rebuild Afghanistan with the Taliban, he moved his family back to Kabul. But it didn't take long for the Taliban to begin suppressing the Afghan people and when they approached Habib, ...more
Feb 17, 2017 Allison rated it really liked it
Wish I had read this when it first came out because it is so good. At the same time it is a very powerful read Right Now with 45 "in command."
Andrew Z
Feb 07, 2015 Andrew Z rated it really liked it
Core Reading

The main message of Shooting Kabul By N.H. Senzai is that if you try hard enough, even when their are strong feelings of hopelessness and despair and you just feel like quitting, you will eventually get to your goal. What the reader comes to understand when they read this book about the author's perspective on human behavior is that the biggest blunder a human will make when striving towards a goal is feeling as if their attempt towards their goal is pointless and
Sep 28, 2016 Kate rated it it was amazing
A Perfect Night to Run Away

“It’s a perfect night to run away” (pg. 1) were the first seven words that N.H. Senzai wrote at the beginning of her book Shooting Kabul. “There’s always hope, don’t give up” is the theme that I went by when reading this book because the main character in the story seemed to have a never-ending downhill type of life, which kept me interested and hopeful to give him courage to stand back up and keep on going.

Shooting Kabul is a suspenseful, and intriguing historical f
Amber Johnson
May 30, 2010 Amber Johnson rated it it was amazing
Based on the author's husband's experience fleeing war-torn Afghanistan, Shooting Kabul tells the story of young Fadi as his family escapes from the Taliban's rule in the year 2001. Fadi's father plans and pays big money for their escape in the middle of the night, only to lose Fadi's six-year-old sister Mariam along the way. Arriving to their new life in Fremont, California, the family is nothing short of devastated as they continue on with school and finding jobs, all while waiting to hear the ...more
Abby Johnson
Apr 02, 2010 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it
After the Taliban pressures his father to join them, Fadi and his family must flee Afghanistan. They sell all their belongings and use their life savings to secure passage to Pakistan. On the night that they board the truck, something terrible happens. People are scrambling to board the truck, desperate to escape the country. Fadi's six-year-old sister Mariam drops her doll and, in turning back to look for it, lets go of Fadi's hand. The truck takes off, trying to outrun the Taliban members who ...more
Gurvir Bajwa
Jan 29, 2014 Gurvir Bajwa rated it really liked it
"Shooting Kabul" by N.H Senzai was a very intriguing and touching book for me to read. This book takes place in the summer of 2001 and Fadi and his family decide to illegally leave Afghanistan because of the Taliban. They decide to leave at midnight in a truck to cross the border to a refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan. While trying to go into the truck, Fadi's little sister Mariam gets left behind because she lets go of Fadi's hand. Her doll was about to fall so when she tried to get it, she le ...more
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I grew up speaking two languages, balancing life lived on the edge of two cultures, and, happily, two cuisines—tandoori chicken and hot dogs, grilled side by side on the 4th of July. I got on a plane for the first time at two months, in Chicago, IL, where I was born, and have been travelling ever since. I grew up in San Francisco, Jubail, Saudi Arabia, and attended boarding school in London, Engla ...more
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