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Rashid is far more of a joke than ever he is a threat. Samiullah is such a Mary Sue that this is almost a lesbian affair. Given the upbringing of these three children, it makes no sense that two of them would suddenly abandon all rules and propriety and start meeting secretly. It makes no sense that Samiullah we're told loves and respects Fatima, yet puts her very life at risk every day by meeting with her unchaperoned. Yes, it's necessary for this sad effort at writing a "love" story, but please, do the work to make it seem possible that they would behave like this!


  • The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi.
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Don't simply tell us this is the way it is merely because I want to tell a forbidden love story and can't be bothered to work at it. I was hoping for a lot more, and got a lot less. I couldn't finish this novel, and I cannot recommend it based on what I read. Life is far too short to waste it reading ordinary stories. Aug 11, Alissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: The paperback was released in June, and to my knowledge it had a quiet release last year when it first arrived on bookshelves.

Now, I will fully admit tothe secret sky being drawn to it because of the cover, its beautiful and I'm desperately in love with the leaf motifs of Arabic cultures. But once I started reading the back I was hooked. Told in three rotating perspectives—the two teens and another boy in the village who turns them in to the local Taliban—this novel depicts both the violent realities of living in Afghanistan, as well as the beauty of the land and the cultures there. And it shows that love can bloom in even the darkest of places. I was fully aware of what happened and the aftermath that followed, but never really took the time to understand what was going on inside those countries until sometime in college.

So this book provided me a different view point on what happened inside that country. Between Fatima, Samiullah and Rashid you get at least a small look into what life must be like for people growing up in the rural areas of Afghanistan. For Fatima and Sami, the fact that they fell in love is not okay, it's wrong and disrespectful to their tribes and families.

Their own families think they've done something wrong simply by being two teenagers in love. And there is Rashid, who through most of the book I just wanted to smack, but by having his voice as a narrator there is understanding. Through him the reader gets what a teenage boy who has joined the Taliban might be thinking and why he does what he does.

I found this to be a profoundly important read and will strongly suggest it to pretty much everyone I come across as something they should read. We, as a culture, don't typically think of those small towns where these things might take place, and probably do take place on a regular basis.


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Its important to see these kids as humans and to not demonize and entire culture because of what one group is doing, and I think that was, in some way, part of the message that Atia Abawi was trying to get across. But, at the end of the day, book is just beautifully written and with a glossary at the back for all the Dari and Pashto words that she uses.

I thought she did a great job of using context to explain what they meant within the story line. I just don't think I can express how important I think this book is for young Americans to read. It gets them a view point not their own and puts them in a world that they're likely never going to experience first hand. And I think that is huge as we move forward into the increasingly global era. Consider buying this through my Book Depot Jan 16, Carol Baldwin rated it really liked it Shelves: This new young adult novel by Atia Abawi, a foreign news correspondent stationed in Afghanistan during the war, has all the elements of Romeo and Juliet: Except this story takes place in modern day Afghanistan and spoiler alert!

Aba This new young adult novel by Atia Abawi, a foreign news correspondent stationed in Afghanistan during the war, has all the elements of Romeo and Juliet: Abawi lifts the veil into a society that will shock most Westerners. Into this world step childhood friends, Fatima, who is Hazara and Samiullah who is Pashtun. Samiullah has just returned from the Taliban controlled school and Fatima doesn't know why. The two meet surreptitiously and confess their love for one another. If Fatima leaves her deeply-loved family she will surely cause them shame.

Samiullah constantly wrestles with his responsibility to Fatmia. Can he ask her to give up her family to go to Kabul where they know no one but could be together? These questions propel the story forward. The secondary characters in The Secret Sky round out the story. Fatima's best friend's grandmother who is teaching the girls how to read, remembers a time when women were freer and bemoans the direction of her country.

The Taliban soldiers, the main characters' family members, and the priest who marries them are portrayed with in-depth accuracy. I label both as contemporary historical fiction and recommend using them in middle and high school classrooms. Sep 26, Hannah Cobb rated it really liked it Shelves: Fatima and Sami grew up in the same village, but ancestry, religion, and economic status are an implacable barrier between them now that they are teens. At least until Sami is sent home in disgrace from a harsh religious school, and sees Fatima for the first time in years. Fatima knows she is breaking the rules when she lingers on the road to speak with her long-lost friend, but she stays for that first shy conversation anyway.

Their gentle, entirely innocent courtship is interrupted when Sami's Fatima and Sami grew up in the same village, but ancestry, religion, and economic status are an implacable barrier between them now that they are teens. Their gentle, entirely innocent courtship is interrupted when Sami's cousin spies on them. Rashid--under the influence of the Taliban--reports on Sami and Fatima, inciting a hunt for the teenagers that leaves a terrible trail of blood in its wake. I picked up this book looking for a window into another culture one I trusted would be accurate and well-depicted, due to Abawi's experience as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East , but The Secret Sky is so much more than that--I was pulled into Fatima's sweet, curious POV from chapter one.

Readers will mourn with Fatima as her innocent curiosity turns to grief; they will cheer for Sami, who is bold enough to challenge tradition, and shudder as Rashid's jealousy and turbulent soul damages everyone he cares about. Harsh realities are not sugarcoated throughout the book, so I wouldn't recommend this to teen readers who aren't ready for the intensity. That said, Fatima and Sami offer an engaging, emotionally gripping look at what life is really like to teens in some parts of Afghanistan.

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I highly recommend this title as a relevant multi-cultural selection for any library collection. Dec 16, Steve Phillips rated it liked it Shelves: I see that The Secret Sky is currently at 4. I'm torn between giving it 2 or giving it 3. I'm a teen librarian, but it's been a long time since I was a teen, so it's not always easy to put myself in the mindset of a teenager, but that's my goal.

That said, it's likely that what I disliked about this book would be less bothersome to an actual teen. Rashid, the "bad guy", is just TOO bad. In fact, he's insane. That in itself is believable, because he believes absol I see that The Secret Sky is currently at 4. That in itself is believable, because he believes absolutely in his own distorted view of his religion, but I think the book would have been more effective if he was a more rational character.

In short, Rashid is a caricature, a stereotype, and for me, not believable. I suspect that this won't bother most teens as much as it bothers me, but I guess I'll have to ask some teens what they think. May 26, Courtney M. Fatima is a lower-class girl who is secretly in love with Sami, a upper-class boy.

When Sami disgraces his family and Fatima's by accident his brother turns him in to the Taliban who works on trying to kill Fatima and Sami. Though Fatima and Sami get away, many other saddening deaths are caused. And many unthinkable ones to. I gave this book four stars because it told us the horrors of what the Afghanistan's have to live through even today and how much work it would take to fix everything ove Fatima is a lower-class girl who is secretly in love with Sami, a upper-class boy.

I gave this book four stars because it told us the horrors of what the Afghanistan's have to live through even today and how much work it would take to fix everything over there. I would recommend this book to people who like romance and adventure novels. Jan 04, Dr.

Garcia rated it it was amazing. This is another must read! It really helps you to understand what is happening in Afghanistan. But more importantly, I think teens can identify with Rashid's character. He got carried away by petty jealousy and made a mistake that had tremendous consequences. Some actions simply cannot be undone and you have to learn to live with yourself after. It reminds me of so many of my students who got caught up in gang violence. While this book describes horrible atrocities that made me cry, it also has This is another must read!

While this book describes horrible atrocities that made me cry, it also has great hope and spirituality. It helps you to distinguish true Islam from radicalism. Dec 19, Marina rated it really liked it Shelves: Thought this would be more of a light-hearted read, but absolutely not - it cuts right to the heart of the violence and condemnation that plague Afghan culture today. The author paints a picture of bravery and love pitted against the depravity and fanatical thinking that twist relations between people, under the guise of religion. It shows the heartbreaking choices young people are faced with and reminds us there is much more to Afghanistan than the current war.

Jun 01, Christine Talley rated it really liked it Shelves: Heart wrenching and enlightening, this book takes a hard look at what life is like in Afghanistan, between traditional Islam and radicalism, culture and religion. Abawi lends credibility to this story as she has observed, lived, and breathed. It contains graphic elemenets, however, and I would caution it being read by anyone under the age of 16, personally.

Oct 14, April rated it it was amazing Shelves: If you want a read that pulls no punches but really lets you have it, this is the book. Read the rest of my review here. Sep 03, Disha rated it it was amazing.

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An absolute favorite and a must read!! Nov 07, Jenn rated it really liked it. Heart wrenching but hopeful. May 25, Nadia added it. Not your average love story, I'd say. Romance, persecution, pride and suffering. The story is heavy as nearly all Afghan stories are but pulls at the heart with hope. Jul 24, Jojobean rated it it was amazing Shelves: This review may contain spoilers So I just finished this emotional ride called a book and let me tell you it made me sad, happy, upset, disgusted and enraged just to name a few.

But this is why I loved the book. Along with the characters and the plot, this book made me feel things and kept me glued to the page. When I finished it, I kept thinking about the things that happened in it and some of them still bother me. This book is a favorite because it made an impact on me. It wasn't just Warning: It wasn't just like another book to knock off my reading list.

That being said , I do have some very strong opinions about the content of the book so beware if you continue reading. First off, a little about the book. The story takes place in Afghanistan in the present day, in a small village. There are 3 main characters: Sami's father is the Khan or leader of their tribe and who owns a lot of land. Fatima's family lives on Sami's father's land and works the land for him. Sami, Fatima and Rashid grew up together and have known each other all their lives. When the story begins, Sami has just come back from the Madrassa which is an Islamic religious school that both he and Rashid were sent to.

Sami quit the school and Rashid was back home for vacation. Of course since this is a love story, Fatima and Sami fall in love. Of course according to their culture that is not allowed and major problems occur because of their love with Rashid being at the center of causing the trouble.

I liked both Sami and Fatima. Both were very loyal to their families and each other. Sami is sweet, thoughtful, gentle and kind. Fatima is loving, family oriented and kind too. But Fatima is not like all other muslim girls. She doesn't want her entire future to be married to a husband she doesn't know and taking care of her family. She is learning to read and has big dreams of going to school in Kabul. She admires Afghan women who are on tv and their radio. While everyone else calls them whores, she calls them brave. Both Fatima and Sami are daring since they meet together in secret to spend time together.

While they both love their families, they don't believe in their tradition of arranged marriages and they see nothing wrong with wanting to marry each other. Its their families that will be outraged. They just love each other and want to be together. Both are also very strong and committed to each other as we see them face their hardships and violence. At first I hated Rashid with a passion.

Now I still don't like him but he is redeemable in my eyes. Rashid is the one who starts all the trouble for Sami and Rashid. Rashid is one of those religious fanatics who justifies his thinking and violence with religious scriptures. He excelled at the Islamic school so he thinks he is the authority on Islam. He wants to punish non-believer and infidels, help bring the Taliban government back and be one of the leaders. He catches Sami and Fatima together in the wood just talking. I am astonished that he automatically calls her a whore.

He believes, as others do, that both Sami and Fatima are shaming their families. So he basically tattle tales on them to Sami's father and Fatima's father. Here's the thing though. Rashid keeps telling himself that he's doing this because his religion say so but he's really doing it because he is jealous of Sami. He always feels second to Sami and that Sami is the golden boy of the family.

So when he found Sami doing something "wrong" he jumps at the chance to ruin his cousin so he can be the favorite. Because he let his anger get the better of him, a lot of bad things happen. While he does do some redeemable actions, to me at least, its kind of "too little, too late". One of the characters who is the leader of the taliban group disgusts me to no end. HE is a violent man who thinks nothing of killing innocent people and invading peoples homes and "shaming" other families.

He is hell bent on killing Sami and Fatima for their "shame" but is is causing more "shame" to those families by doing what he is doing. One of the things I could not wrap my head around is the culture and traditions of these families in the book. The are so focused on honor and not "shaming" the family name. Sami and Fatima couldn't help falling in love. But in their world they can't be together because a Pashtun boy and Hazara girl can't be together. In this world, at Fatima's age, she can't be outside by herself, she can't be with a boy alone and her parents decide for her who she will marry.

The girls have no say in anything and the women can be beaten or killed for the smallest reasons. For lying to her parents. In other places that's called being a teenager. In Fatima's world thats cause for her death. I mean really, that is so extreme.

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And I can't wrap my head around that honor is more important than a persons life. When Fatima "shamed" her family, her mother immediately wished for her death. I mean what kind of mother does that? He mother repeatedly calls her a whore and a slut while beating her and torturing her. And the sick part is that her mother enjoys hurting her, its described in her facial expressions. What kind of sick psychopath does that to their child. That mother needed to die too in my opinion. I work with kids and I want to kill anyone who abuses children in anyway shape or form. If my anyone came at me and did the things that Fatima's mother did to her, no matter what I would defend myself and that person would lose.

It just gets me so angry thinking about it. Fatima's father didn't hit her or hurt her. He was disappointed and didn't speak to her. And her mother constantly called a whore and a slut. Umm last time I checked those words refer to women who have sex with many different partners. And whores according to the dictionary, are prostitutes.

The Secret Sky

All Fatima did was talk to a boy. Everyone in the world should learn the proper definition of those words and stop calling people those words who it doesn't refer to. And thats not the worst part with Fatima's mother. Her mother actually wants to kill her. What kind of world is this? Fatima has a baby sister and she was told that her actions would follow her sister so that her sister may not make a suitable marriage. These people would be in for a rude awakening if any of their teen are like the wild teens in other parts of the world.

And I'm not even going to start on how women are treated in this culture. I'm sorry if this is anyone's culture who is reading this but I don't agree with any of this and I just don't understand how parents can be ok with killing their children over "shame". Anyway, the author of this book describes the country beautifully. I could easily picture the surroundings in my mind as I read. It was interesting to read about how other people live in places with no electricity or plumbing. Boy am I glad for my toilet. The love story was amazing.

I loved how Sami and Fatima loved each other so much they were willing to fight and face death for their love.

They risk everything and they lose everything to be with each other. This review is also posted on The Book Owl Extraordinaire May 19, LeeAnne rated it it was amazing. This is another powerful book by Atia Abawi, and it's about a culture that I know nothing about. I'm afraid that like her second novel, A Land of Permanent Goodbyes, that there is more non-fiction in this work of fiction. I had to stop reading several times just to give myself a chance to breathe as I followed the forbidden love of Sami and Fatima in Afghanistan.

Coming from two tribes, the childhood friends were forbidden to be seen with each other as they grew into young adults. Still wanting This is another powerful book by Atia Abawi, and it's about a culture that I know nothing about. Still wanting to be friends, they met to talk one afternoon and were seen by Sami's cousin, Rashid, who has returned from training in radical Islamic law. This causes a world of problems as Fatima and Sami have to make the difficult choice of honoring their families' traditions or honoring their growing love for each other.

Das Cover ist eigentlich nichts besonders, dennoch finde ich es sehr authentisch. Er merkt schnell, dass es nicht nur Freundschaft ist, die ihn mit ihr verbindet.. Eine Liebe zwischen einem Paschtu und einer Hazara. Was mich erwartet wusste ich nicht, nur dass es eine sehr bewegende Story sein soll und so ist es auch. Nein das ist noch gar nichts. Sie will mehr, sie ist ehrgeizig, was sich allein schon in ihrem Streben des "Lesenlernen" zeigt. Good book to read Great book, could not put it down.


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Very good summer read, such a hard life in Afghanistan. Jul 20, Kristine rated it really liked it. Ancient rivalries and new wounds. Evil as dark and menacing as a rapacious predator on the prowl. Compassion and courage as light and lovely as a summer sunrise. And when a Hazara girl, Fatima, and a Pashtun boy, Samiullah, fall in love in war-time Afghanistan, there's hell to pay. Especially from self-righteous Rashid, Sami's cousin. A heart-breaking, haunting story of forbidden love, loyalty, betrayal and hop Unspeakable cruelty.

A heart-breaking, haunting story of forbidden love, loyalty, betrayal and hope. Aug 06, Nev Enlow rated it really liked it. This is probably one of the best romance novels with no other storyline but that romance I have read. This story wasn't swoony or erotic, it was sad and shocking story. I am very glad I have read this, this book has opened my eyes to what happens in other countries that are not America. This was hard to get through, not because of the writing or language, but because I was so attached to this story and I had a hard time facing the reality of Afghanistan.

I recommend this to all people, there i This is probably one of the best romance novels with no other storyline but that romance I have read. I recommend this to all people, there is no over excessive kissing, they kiss once in total in the book and it was because they are happy to be together. This book will open your eyes and I am thankful to have read it. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

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. In Maryland, Atia covered a wide range of stories — from politics to the impact th Atia Abawi is a foreign correspondent and author based in the Middle East.

In Maryland, Atia covered a wide range of stories — from politics to the impact that drugs and crime had on the local community - before moving to Atlanta to work for CNN. At CNN, she started in the Media Operations department before making her way to the international desk. In Afghanistan, Atia spent time traveling and embedding with U.

She has also interviewed numerous Afghan, International, and American politicians and generals. After nearly 5-years of living in Afghanistan, Atia moved to Jerusalem in January Atia Abawi graduated from Virginia Tech and was most recently awarded their Outstanding Alumna honor.

She is fluent in Dari and Farsi. Books by Atia Abawi. Trivia About The Secret Sky. No trivia or quizzes yet. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. These amazing girls express their message of exhibitionism, freedom of expression, the freedom to be naked in nature, and the beauty of new fresh natural nudes in ultra high quality. Welcome to Sweet Nature Nudes, an exclusive members site of master photographer David and his vision of a world filled with young, nubile, naked girls running around the forests and hills of this beautiful Earth!

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