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Publisher's Summary

"Being a refugee is not a choice. Our choice is to die at home or risk death trying to escape." (Yusra Mardini) 

Yusra Mardini fled her native Syria to the Turkish coast in 2015 and boarded a dinghy full of refugees bound for Greece. When the small and overcrowded boat's engine cut out, it began to sink. Yusra, her sister and two others took to the water, pushing the boat for three and a half hours in open water until they eventually landed on Lesbos, saving the lives of the passengers aboard. 

This is the story of that remarkable woman, whose journey started in a war-torn suburb of Damascus and took her through Europe to Berlin and from there to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

Yusra Mardini is an athlete, one of People magazine's 25 women changing the world, a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and one of Time magazine's 30 most influential teens of 2016. 

©2018 Yusra Mardini (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite book so far in 2018: A must-read

Short version of the review:
Brilliant and inspiring book. You should absolutely get it.

Long version of the review:
John F. Kennedy once said that the point of reading biographies was to answer the lingering question: «what were they really like?». While this book does answer this question to a certain extent, it most importantly helps us comprehend what it is like to be forced to flee your own country. Yusra Mardini writes about her upbringing in Syria before the war, and how she has always been very competitive - both in school and in swimming. She goes on to explain what made her realize that she had to flee, she talks about the journey across the sea and the difficulties of traveling through Europe as a refugee. The book also shows how, even as she made new friends in Germany - adapting to a new life (especially for the rest of her family) hasn't always been a walk in the park - but that she's succeeded in making her dream (of participating in the Olympics) come true and that she now hopes to inspire others.

This is an honest and lucidly written account of the life of an ordinary girl who was forced to flee in order to have a future. She reminds everyone that a refugee is still like everyone else - with hopes and dreams, and with the ability to make something of themselves. As a result, I believe Mardini's point is that you should treat everyone like you yourself wish to be treated, no matter whether people have a refugee status or not - and that you should never give up on what you want to achieve.

It does not matter whether you are political or nonpolitical, whether you're on the left or on the right - we all need to try and put ourselves in other people's shoes, and this book goes a long way in helping us do just that. In this particular case, 'putting ourselves in other people's shows' means that we all need to have a better understanding how it is to be forced to flee your own country - and there is no one better to help us do that, than someone who has lived through it.

In short, this book proves that even if you've lost everything you own, as well as people close to you, you can still achieve great things and motivate people both at home and around the world to help themselves and others - and you can inspire them change the world for the better.

In addition, the narrator also deserves credit. Her tone of voice fits well with the story as it goes along. Her pronounciation of names, places and expressions is also excellent.

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Inspiring story

Inspiring story keep going Yusra
I hope that we see you in Tokyo Olympics 2020

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  • Lauren Durrell
  • 08-07-18

An amazing and truly grounding book

This book is honest and simple. It made me aware of how naive and I am. It was a wonderful read.

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  • Bansal92
  • 06-01-18

Inspiring

I’ve been waiting for this story for a long time and wasn’t at all disappointed! An incredible story of Yusra and her sister’s determination to survive, with some valuable lessons for everyone to take away.