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The Eleventh Trade

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  284 ratings  ·  89 reviews
From debut author Alyssa Hollingsworth comes a story about living with fear, being a friend, and finding a new place to call home.

They say you can't get something for nothing, but nothing is all Sami has. When his grandfather’s most-prized possession—a traditional Afghan instrument called a rebab—is stolen, Sami resolves to get it back. He finds it at a music store, but it
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Piccadilly Press
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Average rating 4.46  · 
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Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
(I was trying to think of a gif to be funny about my own review of my own book but I couldn't choose just one so here you go)

Tony Stark I think I did Fine

proud and embarrassed

awkward smile
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
My heart is so full right now. I've just closed the book, and my heart is both crying and singing in joy. It has been a while that a book has moved me so much. But The Eleventh Trade is one of a kind and I know it will remain in my heart forever. It's one of those books you want to shout from the rooftops about, and especially thank the author sincerely for writing it and making the world a better place.

So where do I start? And how do I do this book justice? The Eleventh Trade is bot
*I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've been hearing about this book for so long that I was ridiculously excited to finally be able to read it and fit all the little snippets I'd heard/read/seen about it together. I was not disappointed. I read the last third of this book on my train journey home from work with a wet face and a curious lady peering at me worriedly from the seat opposite me. When I finally stopped crying with sadness and cried with happiness, she a
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. It carries your heart along with each page that’s turned. I cried, got goosebumps on my arms, held my breath, and cried some more. The pages whisper “hope” as the words teach us about Afghan culture, the refugee experience, and the painful healing process of confronting our memories. I love the prominent theme of family that resounds throughout the book. It’s relationships based on blood, relationships built on shared experiences, and relationships built on love and ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible book! Loved this one so much. Fantastic characters and compelling story. I sure hope they’ll be a sequel!
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this down. Alyssa captures such an incredible glimpse into Afghan culture (in my new city, no less!) with such raw, real truth. Beyond that, she paints a beautiful portrait of refugee life, how stories are so much more than we see on the surface. It has made me even more grateful for my time and experiences with brothers and sisters in so many different countries.
In a time when most Muslims are marginalized for being such, this is even more painfully beautiful. May we all open ou
Kester Nucum
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

From the very first chapter—in fact, page—of The Eleventh Trade, I knew I was in for something very special. It’s very rare for me to have that feeling super early on in the story, and my hunch was right. The Eleventh Trade is one of the most heart-warming and inspirational books I have ever read. The ending made me tear up, and I have not cried from
Laura Gray
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautifully-written book! It's not easy to deal with things like loss, trauma, and the refugee experience in YA literature, but Hollingsworth navigates those troubled waters with a gentle hand. As Sami tries to regain what he has lost, he finds kinship, friends, and family. The relationship between Baba and Sami is also deeply effective, and the familiar bond of grandfather and grandson helps to develop an understanding of the Pashto culture. An excellent read! ...more
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Isabel by: Cheryl Jackson
Warning: The following review is a rambler.

This book caught me off guard. The writing isn't all that beautiful, at times the character even vexed me (talk to your grandfather! He loves you!), and yet this book has a lot to offer. It's odd because I'm reading it while also reading a thriller with terrorists, bombings and international intrigue set in the Middle East. Same locale, such different takes. I really value the perspective provided in this middle grade book.

There's soccer in here. That's
Sarah Howard
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I have the words to say how beautiful this book was.

At it's core, it's a simple story, really, about a boy who wants to get back something that was stolen from him, and ends up reaching more people than he could have hoped. But the realness of Sami and his grandfather, the tragedy of his story, the sincerity of his friends, and absolute humanity of it all really made it unforgettable. It was a quick read for me, but even though it was Middle Grade it didn't really read like it. T
Hannah Lewsey
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Eleventh Trade is a heart-warming story about Sami, a twelve-year old refugee from Afghanistan, who has recently come to Boston with his baba (grandfather). The story centres around Sami’s baba’s rebab, a traditional Afghan instrument, which is stolen at the beginning of the story. The book follows a quest style narrative, with Sami completing various trades to try and win the rebab back.

This is beautiful book that delicately deals with some difficult themes, such as the refugee crisis, rac
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Something jolts the rebab. Suddenly my hands are empty. My eyes fly open. A teenager hurries with the crowd toward the platform. The rebab is in his hands. He snatched it from my lap."

Sami was only playing his grandfather's musical instrument since he went to use the bathroom while they were at the train station. A rebab is a traditional musical instrument from Afghanistan. This rebab has great sentimental value as it is one of the only mementos that Sami and his grandfather were able to keep a
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My 5th grader and I read this for our library book club. It's a beautiful story of a 12-year-old boy and his grandfather who come to America as refugees from Afghanistan fleeing the Taliban. When his grandfather's rebab, a traditional Afghan musical instrument and their source of income as well as joy and a link to their home culture, is stolen out of Sami's hands, he devises a system of trading items to ultimately win it back. Some events are too coincidental and contrived to be quite believabl ...more
Noah Carpenter
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trimester-2
Sami a young kid that is less fortunate. When Samis most prized position is stolen Sami tries his hardest to get it back for him. When Sami saw it in a music store he thought of buying it back but the instrument coasts 700$ and Sami doesn't have a single penny. The only thing that Sami has is a key chain that he says his classmate saw interesting. What Sami thought he would do is keep trading until he gets to the value of 700$. ...more
Carey Blankenship
A lovely book by an even lovelier person!

This book is important, beautiful, and well-written! Alyssa certainly knows how to tackle bigger world issues, well-developed characters, and diverse emotions. The world is better now thanks to this book!

Can't wait to see what Alyssa comes out with next.
Jessica Elliott
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the best young adult books I have ever read. The author came to speak at our middle school on a day I was subbing and I got to hear her speak firsthand. This book was thoughtful, suspenseful, emotional and heartfelt.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
What an amazing story - this was a breakout debut for Ms Hollingworth! It was such a enjoyable book to read - I was introduced to a culture I knew little about, and in a gentle manner. Learning about the lives of the Afghan people through 12yo refugeee Sami's eyes was eye-opening and heartwarming. I could hardly put the book down! Now that I'm finished reading it for myself, I look forward to reading it to my children. I hope that Ms Hollingworth continues to write! ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus
Sami and his grandfather have managed to escape Afghanistan after the violent deaths of Sami's parents, and have made their way across Europe to live in the Boston area. His grandfather (who was a well respected musician) has been earning a little money busking, playing the rebab, one of the few possessions they managed to take with them. When the instrument is stolen, Sami is bereft, although his grandfather is understanding and gets work as a dishwasher. When Sami trad
S.R.R. Colvin
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is wonderfully written and the characters, Sami in particular, are carefully drawn. Hollingsworth was able to paint a picture in my mind of Sami's life in the U.S. and of his previous life in Afghanistan. Challenges and triumphs fill the book. Well done. ...more
Arianne Costner
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this beautifully-written middle grade book. Sami is such a lovable main character with lots of depth. The author's personal experiences noted at the back of the book were interesting and it was so cool to see how they influenced the novel. The ending was touching and hopeful, and I may have shed a tear or two. This is the type of classic-feeling MG that is probably just as enjoyable for adults as children. ...more
Valerie McEnroe
This book fills a niche for kids who want to understand middle eastern culture and the Taliban presence in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, no matter how many adults like this book and have a curiosity about the ongoing conflict in the middle east, I don't expect many kids to have the same reaction to this book.

The book opens with Sami and his Baba (grandfather) playing an Afghan instrument called a rebab in a Boston metro station. Sami becomes so absorbed while playing, that a thief easily snatches
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alternative Assessment: #5 from provided list of book report alternatives-Suppose you had written to a character in your book and asked him/her what he/she would like for their birthday. Make a list of ten presents and explain why the character would want them.

1. Soccer ball/gear: Sami makes friends at his new school in America by joining a soccer team.
2. Rebab: While Sami is waiting for his Baba in the restroom, their rebab is stolen from Sami.
3. Data for his cell phone: Sami is a little jealou
Anita McDivitt Barrios
I came across this and as the rebab (see it in light blue on the cover?) is a string instrument from Afghanistan, I thought to put it on hold and check it out of my local library.

Then the author joined a critique group I'm in, and she's a fantastic writer, so I should probably disclose that, before you read this review. But one of the things I've learned from her writing, and it's so very apparent here, is how she layers emotion and feeling into every little nook and cranny of her books! It pack
WhatBookNext .com
Sami is new in Boston USA after fleeing his home in Afghanistan with Baba (his Grandfather). He has learnt the hard way about being invisible, keeping his head down and staying out of trouble. So he mostly keeps to himself.

On the way home one day, he intercepts a football that has been kicked too hard from a game in the street. A boy from school sees his skill and Sami is invited to a local gym that hosts football games amongst many other activities.

This connection leads to meeting new people, a
I received a review copy of this middle grade fiction novel from the publisher and I have to say that I just loved it. This book takes readers into the mind and heart of a twelve-year-old Afghan refugee who, with his grandfather, is trying to recover from the trauma of losing his parents in a brutal bombing attack.
Sami and Baba (his grandfather) have spent several years making their way from Afghanistan to Iran, Turkey, Greece, and finally America. They’ve recently arrived in Boston and settlin
Casey Daniels
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
This book is a perfect example of how all middle-grade books should be. Honestly, it's how most books should be written *period*... but I'll try to focus on the middle-grade aspects for the majority of this review since that is the intended audience.
This book addresses a lot of real-life issues that are difficult to discuss, especially with young readers. The protagonist faces many hardships and conflicts that the average middle schooler does not have to deal with, and then on top of that he fa
Sami and his beloved grandfather have managed to leave the turmoil in Afghanistan far behind them and are now doing their best to make their way in Boston, their new home. But urban centers can be less than friendly to newcomers, and they haven't left behind their memories of what happened to prompt their departure. Sami is haunted by what happened and his own part in it. After his grandfather's traditional musical instrument, his beloved rebab, is stolen on the street, Sami swears to get it bac ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Eleventh Trade by Alyssa Hollingsworth, 304 pages. Roaring Brook Press, (Macmillan), 2018. $17. Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (suicide bomber).



One of the few possessions Sami and his baba brought to American when they fled Afghanistan was an instrument called a rebab. When a thief grabs it out of Sami’s hand in a Boston metro station, he’s devastated, but determined to get it back. Luckily, he meets Dan. Not only does Dan
Hannah Rials
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alyssa Hollingsworth's debut novel is just absolutely lovely, and there's no other word for it. She has found a touching tale about a refugee boy and his grandfather, dealing with not only the loss of their family after a Taliban attack, but also losing their homeland, and now, at the beginning of the story, his Baba's beloved rebab (stringed instrument), the only treasure they salvaged from their home.
Struggling with finding his place in Boston and dealing with his memories, Sami must now deal
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the heartbreaking story of a young Afghan refugee. Sami is living in a small apartment in Boston with his grandfather. We slowly learn of the trauma and the cruelty they endured at the hands of smugglers, in refugee camps and in confinement after fleeing from the Taliban. We learn of Sami’s strength, his fierce love for his grandfather, his struggle to understand American customs and his fear of both remembering and forgetting his past.

This is a compelling story you won’t be abl
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Alyssa Hollingsworth was born in small-town Milton, Florida, but life as a roving military kid soon mellowed her (unintelligibly strong) Southern accent. Wanderlust is in her blood, and she’s always waiting for the wind to change. Stories remain her constant.

Alyssa received her BA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Berry College and her MA with honors in Writing for Young People

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