The Taliban still control Afghanistan, but Kabul is in ruins. Parvana's father has just died, and her mother, sister, and brother could be anywhere in the country. Parvana knows she must find them. Despite her youth, Parvana sets out alone, masquerading as a boy. She soon meets other children who are victims of war - an infant boy in a bombed-out village, a nine-year-old girl who thinks she has magic powers over landmines, and a boy with one leg.
Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night.
In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge. He only wants to retire in peace, but then his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge's chatty cook watches over her, but his thoughts are mostly with his son, Biju, who is hop-scotching from one New York restaurant job to another. A novel of depth and emotion, Desai's second, long-awaited novel fulfills the grand promise established by her first.
"Gorgeous prose but grim"
Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody's games - or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: no fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?
On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man's unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger's behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins.
Fourteen-year-old Shauzia dreams of seeing the ocean and eventually making a new life in France, but it is hard to reconcile that dream with the terrible conditions of the Afghan refugee camp where she lives. Making things worse is the camp's leader, Mrs. Weera, whose demands on Shauzia make her need to escape all the more urgent.
When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn Middle East to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She's conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can't bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?
"Great book for high school book clubs"
An unforgettable tribute to the powers of imagination and the resilience of childhood, The Blue Notebook tells the story of Batuk, a precocious 15-year-old girl from rural India who was sold into sexual slavery by her father when she was nine. As she navigates the grim realities of the Common Street - a street of prostitution in Mumbai where children are kept in cages as they wait for customers to pay for sex - Batuk manages to put pen to paper, recording her private thoughts and stories in a diary.
"Thank you for opening my eyes..."
For most of her life, Lauren Mahdian has been certain of two things: that her mother is dead, and that her father is a murderer. Before the horrific tragedy, Lauren led a sheltered life in a wealthy corner of America, in a town outside Manhattan on the banks of Long Island Sound, a haven of luxurious homes, manicured lawns, and seemingly perfect families. Here Lauren and her older brother, Alex, thought they were safe. But one morning, six-year-old Lauren and eight-year-old Alex awoke to discover their mother's body....
Mitra and her little brother, Babak, are beggars in the city of Rhagae, scratching out a living as best as they can with what they can beg for, or steal. But Mitra burns with hope and ambition, for she and Babak are not what they seem. They are of royal blood, but their father's ill-fated plot against the evil tyrant, King Phraates, has resulted in their father's death and their exile.