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A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,738 ratings  ·  394 reviews
In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he's threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq's family knows that to continue to stay alive,
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Philomel Books
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Jeff Verkaik I did not put it on my 6th grade self. My 7th grade daughter started it and quit because of how emotional the book made her feel. It is a great book b…moreI did not put it on my 6th grade self. My 7th grade daughter started it and quit because of how emotional the book made her feel. It is a great book but I think it is best suited for high schoolers.(less)
Ryan Hodges I would say yes. Although this story is very emotional, it is not very violent. I think this book would be suitable for a reader that is advanced and …moreI would say yes. Although this story is very emotional, it is not very violent. I think this book would be suitable for a reader that is advanced and wants to read something about refugees.(less)

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Atia Abawi
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
It’s my book 😊 Thanks to all who have taken the time to read ALOPG! And to those who plan to read it. As someone who was a refugee myself this story was important for me to share.
may ❀
Book 4 completed for #RamadanReadathon

i am absolutely gutted. this book had me sobbing from the first three minutes.

what a journey this was.

“So yes, you were born to die. But in between, you are meant to live.”
Amy Layton
What an astounding book.  Though not too violent at its core, this book certainly displays an affinity for discussing the aftereffects and reactions to the violence which humanity commits on a day to day basis--namely, in this book, terrorism caused by Daesh in Syria.  As we begin to follow Tareq, we are also allowed insight not only into what used to be his everyday life, but into the horrors he now bears witness to and the fears others harbor towards him.  Nuanced would be the word I'd use to ...more
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary, ya
2.5 stars. I went back and forth trying to decide if this was a 2 star read or a 3 star and finally decided to round up based solely on the story. It's important for these stories to be told, for YA readers to be exposed to them, and for the experiences of refugees to be heard and understood from their perspective. This book does exactly that. Unfortunately, the story was the only element I really enjoyed. The book is told by destiny much the way The Book Thief was narrated by death, although he ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
The refugee crisis is one that needs to be talked about, and despite this book’s many shortcomings, it did, at least, do that. It doesn’t do so as well or as powerfully as I hoped, but it is one of the few positive things that definitely cannot be discounted. It’s just a shame, because it could have been so much more.

This is clearly a book that panders to a white audience. From the offset, the book was obviously invested in creating characters that were human by relating various anecdotes that
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: refugees
It is vital that the refugee crisis is told to all audiences, including young adult, and Syria is about as terrible as there is. But, while the characters were okay, the story was kind of dull. The volunteers, in particular, were not well developed either, although I liked Abawi's effort to include their perspective.
Claire Draper
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book made me cry. At my desk. In public. It was every bit of a lovely book that I needed this year.
Trigger warnings: death of a parent, death of a sibling, bombing, war, executions, death of a child, manipulation, people smuggling, child trafficking, drowning, mentions of rape.

OW MY FEELINGS. Let's be real here: this book is 100% intended for white readers. And white teenagers at that. It's pretty simplistic, and everything is very black and white - there are bad people and good people, that's it. No one operates in a moral grey zone, it's all one way or the other. And I fully recognise that
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this because it aims to tell the important story of what Syrian refugees go through, but the writing and characterization failed to catch my attention and it all felt flat. There were a few moments when the prose felt promising, especially in the earlier part of the book, but overall I was underwhelmed by Destiny as a narrator and overwhelmed by the didactic narrative and conversations between characters. It felt like I didn’t have space as a reader to do anything but tak ...more
Wendy Dopkin
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: freelance
This book is heavy, but SO worth it. It is so powerful and well-written...Highly recommended!
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, fiction
This one fell firmly on the line between 2 and 3 stars for me. It's a serious and heartbreaking story about a teenage boy from Syria who becomes a refuge when his home is bombed, and his journey from Syria through Turkey and Greece. It's devastating, timely material. Unfortunately, the execution was poor. Tareq's story on its own was compelling, and the scenes told from his POV are what tipped the balance toward three stars instead of two. But Abawi made the choice to use an omniscient narrator, ...more
Danielle N
You may also find my thoughts and a guest post from Atia Abawi on Books, Vertigo & Tea.

“The human heart is the most complicated creation I’ve ever encounter. The formation of the cosmos was easier to understand.”
~Atia Abawi, A Land of Permanent Goodbyes (Uncorrected text)

Some books enter your life and leave a mark, and then there are those that stay etched within you permanently. You know by the time you close them, that you are wiser and better for having read them. A Land of Permanent Good
Lisa Welch
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Penguin Random House First to Read for an advance copy.

I am reading some amazing and diverse books to start off 2018! This book packs a big punch, but is a powerful and important read. Written by a woman who is a journalist in the Middle East, this novel brings the Syrian refugee crisis to life in a way I never could have imagined. Narrated by Destiny, the journey of Tarek and his family, from their happy days in Syria to their escape to Europe, will inspire you to find out what more y
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tareq has lost everything except for his father and his youngest sister after the conflict in Syria reaches his home. They manage to escape to Turkey, but living as a refugee is unspeakably hard. Do they risk their lives to try to make it to Europe?

Well-researched and heart-wrenching, this is an important story that I'd like all my teens to read. However, the narrator of Destiny gets quite preachy, and the didactic tone really comes out towards the end of the novel. I would've much preferred it
Lucy Booth
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. Beautifully written. It it truly inspiring. It tells not only of Syrian refugees, but refugees in the Middle East today, as well as throughout history. I also loved how it was narrated by destiny. This put an interesting twist to the book. I honestly can say this is one of the best, if not best books I have ever read.

(This book was given to me by a local book store to read and review)
Enne (they/he)
”So yes, you were born to die. But in between, you are meant to live.”

2 stars
read full review here
*full review include favorite quotes and a spoiler section

The Writing
The writing was. Bland. This was narrated by Destiny, which sounds kind of similar to the Book Thief situation, as that one’s narrated by Death. However, the execution is nothing like the Book Thief, and I could not help comparing the two. We get a total of maybe 3 chapters that actually feel like they’re being narra
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding book. I have already recommended it to many friends and family with strong ties to Turkey and Syria. Even though I wish I could have gotten to know every one of the characters more deeply, I will not soon forget the scenes in this story, especially the trip across the Mediterranean, knowing that they will be in my mind for a very long time.

I struggled a lot with the author's portrayal of Turkish people, having lived through much of the Syrian refugee crisis in basically a Turkey-
Katie B
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tareq and his family are living in Syria, a country torn apart by war, when tragedy strikes his family. A horrific bombing claims the lives of many of his family members. Tareq and his surviving family members know the only way they can stay alive is if they leave the country they call home. But life as a refugee is no less dangerous as they make their journey from one country to the next. Told from the perspective of Destiny, this is a story about war, destruction, family, and love.

I'll admit I
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Abawi, Atia A Land of Permanent Goodbyes 278 pages. Philomel Books (Penguin Random House), 2018. $7 (paperback). Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence : PG

Tareq’s family has a wonderful life until the Syrian Civil conflict comes showering down on their heads. Of the family Tareq, his father, a younger brother and a younger sister are the only survivors and they work to make their way to Europe, specifically Germany. The going is really hard; Tareq’s family tries to do everything legally in a
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first two chapters really got me. I had tears in my eyes just by being introduced to the characters and the whole situation.
As a whole the book was really interesting and got me thinking a lot. It's good to be reminded of why all those refugees are here. Especially when you live in a country like Germany.
I was expecting it to make me feel a little more though, to completely wreck me if I'm being honest. So it did fall a little bit flat in the middle, getting lost in the story.
But overall a
Jaime Davis
Absolutely phenomenal! A beautifully written, yet heart wrenching story of the struggle for survival in the war torn Middle East. Narrated by Destiny personified, this novel depicts the tragic experiences of a Syrian youth, and his determination to find a safer world for his sister. Without a doubt.......a MUST READ!
Thank you to Penguin First to Read for access to an advanced reader copy!
Mindy Debes
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story broke my heart and gave me hope at the same time. Mostly, it opened my eyes to a terrible journey that thousands have been forced to take, and it gave me new insights into the horrors that people living today face throughout the world.
Amanda Kingswell
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very seldom do I give a book 5 stars but, this one really earned it. In this story we meet a boy named Tareq and his family who live in Syria, tragedy strikes his family and those that remain are left to flee Syria so they can survive. The story is narrated by Destiny. It is so wonderfully done and I could not put it down. I will admit this is definitely a story that will make you cry or at least have some emotional feeling. We see on the news about the refugees trying to escape their countries ...more
Author Atia Abawi, a foreign news correspondent whose parents were Afghan refugees, first gained popularity among young adult readers with her romantic novel, SECRET SKY, set in modern-day Afghanistan. In her latest novel, A LAND OF PERMANENT GOODBYES, Abawi draws from her experience reporting in the Middle East to tell the continuing story of the Syrian refugee crisis to her teen audiences. Raw and authentic, A LAND OF PERMANENT GOODBYES is a witness to the struggle of all refugees.

Shaye Miller
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book — it’s a MUST in a young adult library. It was a difficult read because I know this stuff is reality for many people. But we need to understand these inside truths to have a better grasp on what is and isn’t happening. The story begins with Tareq in Syria (where his home was bombed) and follows him on his journey through Turkey and Greece. We witness the story from the viewpoint of “destiny” as narrator, which allows the reader to witness the chorus of voices ranging from the refugee t ...more
Nicole Means
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Writing about current and controversial issues can be a daunting task, particularly portraying the situation without minimizing it, but not to minimize the situation, but Atia Abawi proves to be worthy of the task in her book, “A Land of Permanent Goodbyes.” Selecting “Destiny” as the narrator proved to be a brilliant strategy to recap historical details without disrupting the flow of the plot. Since Destiny has been around for an eternity, the reader is provided insight into the cyclical nature ...more
Although I was often annoyed by the occasional intrusion of the narrator, Destiny, despite the truth of those offered comments, I ended up being thoroughly impressed by this book. The author does a marvelous job of putting the recent refugee crisis in Europe into perspective while allowing readers to get to know one family in particular. When his family's apartment is bombed, Tareq and his little sister Susan are the only survivors. His father, who had been away at the time, realizes that Syria ...more
The Library Assassin
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a powerful book. Very moving. Made me cry from page 2. Must read!
Nikki Flynn
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I was so hooked in from the start. With the exception of the first 11 pages, I read the entire book in about five hours. It was a powerful story that I know will stay with me for a while. I think it did an excellent job portraying a refugee’s story, however, as someone who is not, I can never truly say how well of a job it did. It is an own voices novel, so I think that this is an accurate representation, but I can never say for sure. I highly ...more
This book uses a similar narrative device as The Book Thief, using "Destiny" as the narrator. But every part where the narration steps back from Tareq's story into Destiny's pontificating is overwrought and obviously didactic. I thought the portions with the volunteer Alexia were also like that. For example, on page 115, the narrator describes urinating as "the most human of actions." Despite this, A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is a very moving novel and gives an important and heart-wrenching loo ...more
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Atia Abawi is a foreign correspondent and author based in the Middle East.

From an early age, Atia knew she wanted to be a journalist. After graduating from Virginia Tech, where she anchored the college’s local television station VTTV, Atia volunteered and was then hired on at CTV 76 –a local TV station in Largo, MD. In Maryland, Atia covered a wide range of stories – from politics to the impact th

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“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world. —Fred Rogers” 5 likes
“When one learns eventually that home is not an object, comfort begins to return.” 3 likes
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