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The Heart of Aleppo: A Story of the Syrian Civil War

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  6,888 ratings  ·  1,046 reviews
#1 Bestseller in Asian-American Literature!
Available in paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited!
Winner of the 2019 Independent Press Award

From the ashes of the Syrian Civil War comes this story of hope, love, and courage...

After standing for over 7,000 years, Aleppo's ruin came overnight. Separated from his family during the night the rebels attacked the city, 13-year-ol
Kindle Edition, 252 pages
Published July 26th 2018
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Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic novel that touches the heart of the reader
I was given an advanced copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This novel is absolutely heart-wrenching. I was generally aware of what's going on in Syria. However, this story put everything in a different perspective for me. The story focuses on a young teenager, Zaid Kadir, who is separated from his family in Aleppo after it is over run by the rebels. Along with his two best friends, Salman and Fatima, he has to s
Julia Simpson-Urrutia
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We have seen the heartrending images of babies crying on missile-shelled, bullet-riddled streets, heard the furor of debate over desperate people seeking shelter from a war-torn country, but rare is the first-person account from a youthful perspective that gives us a window to feel it all up close. This coming-of-age story (realistic fiction) starts with a 13-year-old Syrian boy running for his life through a battle zone to no safety at all.

The narrative then slams backward, to a place any young
Mererid Evanna
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is way out of my comfort zone: I never read books about war or follow news about it. I've mostly heard about the Syrian Civil War in terms of territories being seized or recovered as if they were pieces on a game board. Zaid, the 13-year-old hero of this story, was similarly protected by his parents from unpleasant and worrying news, so it is all the more shocking for him when he is present at the initial assault on his home town of Aleppo. Within an astonishingly short time, this bright, b ...more
Lael Braday
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thirteen-year-old Zaid and his friends, siblings Fatima and Salman, leave innocence behind when their parents send them away at rumors of rebel attacks. The teenagers discover that nowhere is safe, as they are besieged repeatedly by rebels, and learn that the military cannot be trusted—they are alone. Strangers sacrifice their lives; strangers betray them; strangers ask for help…evoking survival instincts and humanity’s courage in the darkest hours. They are children, separated from their parent ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heart-wrenching, powerful story that portrays heroism and hope under the worst circumstances
This is a beautifully written and emotionally charged book that gives its readers a glimpse of the terrible ordeals people in war-torn countries go through. This is not a political tale nor does it take sides in any way. It simply tells the story of an average young man and how his life gets turned upside down when his country and it's government decide war is the only solution to their problems.

This sto
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The heart of Aleppo is not the city's centre, it's the people loving and living it.
I'm lucky to say that I don't know what it feels like when, after a normal, carefree childhood, your whole world falls apart. But I think Ammar Habib does a great job describing just that.
Very shocking and touching! And, sadly, realistic story. Not one I will easily forget...

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Ammar Habib
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I am very excited for this book's release. It's definitely the most meaningful work I have written thus far as it displays the terrors many people in Syria continue to face. I truly hope readers connect with this work! ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful novel that will stay with me for a long time. Habib managed to write Zaid as a character many people will be able to relate to. A teenage boy with hopes and dreams of the future, who's innocence is quickly destroyed when the first bombs start to fall. The conflicting emotions Zaid experiences about his brother, his family, the military and life in general are put into words beautifully. Thanks to Habib's writing I was able to really picture Aleppo and the destruction that took place. ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very powerful story of a 13 year old who is growing up in Aleppo during war time and is trying to escape the devastation that is fast approaching his home area. Zaid and his two close friends set out to run towards a safer area and we are taken with them on this journey.Habib does an outstanding job of describing what the streets of Aleppo are like during war time. The reader can feel the full effects of the war and the raw emotions of the characters in the book. It is a very powerful ...more
Pricella Sanchez
I was given this ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review:

Wow! That is all I can say. This story absolutely touched my heart. As the premise suggests, this novel follows a young boy, Zaid Kadir, as he is separated from his family in the midst of the Battle of Aleppo. Along with 2 of his friends, he is forced to survive the chaos of war. The book is a balancing act in how it shows the brutality and chaos of war, and helplessness of those caught in the crossfire.

The book's theme seems
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First of all I would like to thank the author as well as Indie Blog Hop for offering me the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is one of the most emotional reads I've ever come across. I swear. The situations, the killings, everything, it hit me so much that it's just painful and heart-wrenching to read. And the fact that it's based on a real event made it all the more powerful to read because there actually people, so many people, who are affected by this mess. There were so many dreams ...more
Alex Hudson
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Devastatingly Powerful

This is a devastatingly powerful read, an emotional roller coaster, and a story I'll never forget. The author hopes to humanize the tragic stories we see on the news from all the wars across the globe, specifically the Syrian Civil War, and he accomplishes that masterfully!

The protagonist, Zaid Kadir, is a normal pre-teen boy living in Aleppo, Syria. He goes to school, has friends, and is in that "awkward" stage of life. He has a crush, wishes he was as cool as some other
Stacy Bosse
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Syrian Civil War is a topic I admittedly don’t know much about, so I learned a few tragic things from reading the book. More importantly than the true events this book describes, I was able to sympathize with the characters, regardless of the cultural differences. I’m an 8th grade teacher, and I plan on purchasing more copies of this and adding them to my classroom library for my students to read. My students can learn a lot about what real courage is by reading this book.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
Told through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy, The Heart of Aleppo brings alive the horrors of the Syrian Civil War. With their home city of Aleppo turned into a war zone over night in 2012, Zaid and his two closest friends struggle to survive amidst the violence in the streets.
A short novel that packs an intense punch. Powerful, timely and important, infused with a defiant sense of hope in the face of death and destruction. Read it.
Laura Jackman
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a read. It really touched my soul as I read about how Zaid and his friends had to endure what no child should ever have to go through. I think everybody living in first-world countries should read this book to get a better understanding of what people in war-torn nations are experiencing.
Evelina Garnelyte
Touching. Lively written. Descriptive.
Showing who we, humans, can become in unhuman conditions. This book reminded me of the core of any human being: hope and humanity. Without it we're nothing.
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Must Read

I have to tell you that this has a very difficult review to write for me & to dignify with the respect it deserves. The stories and reality of a war torn Syria and the desperation of their beautiful people fleeing and seeking refuge is something that truly affects me, often, in real life. I have so much compassion for these people and stories I have heard of their journeys have truly impacted my heart.

I had to stop-start this book several times. While I could have finished it in a day
Mc Chanster
This book was absolutely gut-wrenching, and one that everybody should read. Beautifully written, the author weaves his tale around Zaid, a 13-year-old Syrian boy whose life changes in a single night.

Like many other boys his age, Zaid worries about school, has a crush, and would much rather play with his friends than doing homework. He loves and respects his family, and dreams of being a doctor – if only he could learn to stop daydreaming in class! All was well, until one night, he is roused from
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book because it demonstrated what life was like in a different part of the world, and it also showed how people support each other like they are family even though they aren't family. We see the power of the human spirit, and the power of hope and courage. Though it's a coming-of-age story and a hero's journey for Zaid Kadir, it is so much more. In today's world, this is the sort of book that must be read. ...more
Paige Green
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I got this book on Kindle Unlimited. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: July 26th, 2018

Genre: Fiction

Recommended Age: 16+ (violence, slight gore, some mature themes)

Pages: 252

Author Website

Amazon Link

Synopsis: After standing for over 7,000 years, Aleppo's ruin came overnight.
Separated from his family during the night the rebels attacked the city, thirteen-year-old Zaid Kadir is lost in the middle of a war zone. Alongside his friends, he is forced to survive the da
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is by far the most saddest book I have ever read.

Incredibly written with voices that reach beyond the page. My heart shattered into a trillion pieces - page after page of overwhelming heartache. Millions of displaced people. Some completely alone. Loss of Life, loss of family, loss of home, loss of self.

Beautiful, intelligent, insight-fully touching.

I wish the entire planet could read this and should be compulsory in schools. Particularly for those that can't understand why they come, where
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The news reports from Syria have given the world heart breaking pictures of the children who suffer from the civil war. This book has helped to put a face and story to some of those children. Horrifying, vivid descriptions as well as strong, loving friendships creates a memorable fictional story that will keep you up at night wondering why the world has done nothing to help. Zaid and his friends will stay with me for a long time.
Steven Armstrong
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book deals with an important topic which has been in the news very frequently. What has not been in the news were the people who suffered during that time. This book is fictitious - the plot is fictitious but the people and their stories are real.

The story is a story about human spirit and going on in life even though the chances and hopes may amount to nothing. The writing made me connect with the characters more and I feel that it made me visualize the story even better. The author paints
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As with most war stories, the story told in The Heart of Aleppo is heartbreaking. Ammar Habib does a great job with the voice of a 13-year-old enduring the destruction of Aleppo during the Syrian Civil War. One of the things that impressed me was Habib’s ability to tell the story without including the politics of the war. It is truly a story of the spirit of humanity in difficult circumstances.
While it is a very sad story and hard to read in many ways, I was compelled to keep reading to find out
Julie Kaya
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to read, making you believe you are actually there with Zaid. So well written that I’m still thinking about it the morning after I finished it. It really drives home what is happening in the world which we don’t see or hear about and we forget about, whether intentionally or not. Well done Ammar for writing it so well, I could have read more, perhaps the ending could be different with Zaid going on to follow his dreams???
Bruce K.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I could not turn away from this story. The way in which the author weaves together the intimate thoughts of the characters with the outward atrocities of a war torn country is astounding. As you enter into the journey of the beautiful and fiercely brave souls, your heart is overwhelmed with empathy and emotion. "The Heartof Aleppo" is a phenomenal story. A tale that should be discussed and shared. Five well deserved, if not more, stars. Well done, Ammar Habib. ...more
Sarah Rayner
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Moving tale of how war effects children! I have seen the war reported on the news, but this book really brings it home how it has affected families on a day to day basis. There is no mention of the politics of the war, just the story of group of children. Highly recommend read!
Gracie Bustillos
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow Awesome

This is a powerful story. It portrays a heartbreaking, heroism and hope under the most horrible situations This story is a must read. Reading the book made me feel like I was actually there. Awesome writing Ammar.
5 stars

Although not an easy read, I was taken in by the beautiful prose and message of The Heart of Aleppo. Don't let the troubling subject matter turn you away from this excellent book. I finished reading it several weeks ago and expect to reflect on it for a long time.

This is a devastating story of loss and living with hope. Well done, touching, inspiring and maddening at the reality of the story. A truly gorgeous book. I cried throughout at the trauma and connection these characters experienc
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the moment I started reading this novel, I knew it would be challenging for me to close it after I finished reading. The Syrian War is something I knew about, but this novel brings it to life. This book may be merely fiction, but it makes everything seem so real that I would never be able to tell the difference if I didn't know that it was fictional. It delivers an eerie theme of how a single event can lead to many other events, eventually collapsing the lives of ordinary people. I am so gl ...more
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Ammar is an award-winning & bestselling author originally from Lake Jackson, Texas. Writing has always been a passion of his since he was in elementary school. Ammar enjoys crafting stories that are not only entertaining, but also have something useful to say to the reader. He is also the founder/editor-in-chief of Thriller Magazine. Ammar presently resides in his hometown. He lives with his famil ...more

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