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The Map of Salt and Stars
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Archive: Other Books > The Map of Salt and Stars- Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar- 4 stars

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message 1: by Tracy (last edited Jul 14, 2018 02:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tracy (tstan) | 1237 comments Nour, a girl born in NYC to Syrian parents, moves back to Homs, Syria with her sisters and her mother in the summer of 2011, after her father has passed away. When the Civil War hits their home, literally, they find themselves refugees. Their goal is to get back to the US, so they head to Ceuta, on the Strait of Gibraltar. Along the way, they meet many people, kind and not so kind, and have many obstacles thrown at them. To help herself stay sane, and connected to her father, Nour tells herself the story of Rawiya, a mapmaker's apprentice from the 12th century. The story alternates between Rawiya and Nour, as they travel the same route to get to Ceuta.

What I loved: The writing flowed beautifully through a harrowing story. The characters were drawn well, and their experiences had me very emotional at times. The legend/story of Rawiya was also interesting- a glimpse of history in a region that, I confess, I know way too little about. I also appreciated the lessons in geography and relations between the countries.
This was a coming of age story in the voice of a 12 year old, and I think the author did a nice job of capturing that.
What I didn't love, and this is what dropped the whole star:
The Syrian Civil War started in March of 2011. Why would a mother move her children, in the SUMMER of 2011, to a politically unstable country from a country that is clearly safer? And when she decided to move them out of Homs, because, well, they didn't have a house, why did she not try to get to Europe, where she could have gotten them back to the US, instead of going across the Mediterranean, via Libya, to Ceuta?
I also had a bit of trouble believing that a twelve year old who grew up in NYC was as naive about some things as she was. But I can overlook that, since I know a lot of people who maintain that childlike quality far longer than most.

All in all, this was a very entertaining and educational read. I very much recommend it, and look forward to the author's next book.

message 2: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie | 4488 comments Thanks for your review Tracey. It sounds like a worthy read. I’m adding it (if I haven’t already!).

message 3: by Hayjay315 (new)

Hayjay315 | 251 comments This book was receiving a lot of positive buzz before its publication so I added it to my TBR and based on your review I've moved it to the top of my list of books to tackle after I finish all my reading challenge ones!

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