A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

by Atia Abawi

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

A powerful novel of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria, masterfully told by a journalist who witnessed the crisis firsthand.

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future. Tareq's family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

While this is one family's story, it is also the timeless tale of the heartbreaking consequences of all wars, all tragedy, narrated by Destiny itself. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

An award-winning author and journalist—and a refugee herself—Atia Abawi captures the hope that spurs people forward against all odds and the love that makes that hope grow.

Praise for A Land of Permanent Goodbyes:

Featured on NPR's Morning Edition!
Featured by Dana Perino’s on The Five!
Featured as a most-anticipated book of 2018 on The Huffington Post!


“[A] heartbreaking and to-the-minute timely story of the Syrian refugee crisis. Abawi gives even more humanity, depth, and understanding to the headlines.”—Bustle

★ “From award-winning journalist Abawi comes an unforgettable novel that brings readers face to face with the global refugee crisis . . . A heartbreaking, haunting, and necessary story that offers hope while laying bare the bleakness of the world.”—Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ "Abawi skillfully places humanity enmeshed in war into two sides: the 'hunters' who feed on the suffering and the 'helpers' who lend a hand. An inspiring, timely, and must-have account about the Syrian refugee disaster and the perils of all wars."—School Library Journalstarred review

★ "[A] gripping and heartrending novel . . . [and an] upsetting yet beautifully rendered portrayal of an ongoing humanitarian crisis."—Publishers Weeklystarred review
 
"As author Atia Abawi artfully illustrates, refugees are created by circumstances that can happen anywhere. A perfect companion novel to Alan Gratz's Refugee, this humanizing, often harrowing and sometimes transcendent novel fosters compassion and understanding."—BookPage, Top Teen Pick
 
“[T]his could be paired with Sepetys’ book . . . Salt to the Sea, for a multi-era look at the casualties of war.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
 
“This is a harrowing and vitally important novel about an ongoing crisis. Tareq’s story will linger with readers long after they’ve turned the final page.”—Bookish

"A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is an engrossing, heartbreaking story of survival, giving readers an authentic glimpse of the suffering and destruction in Syria."—Voice of Youth Advocates

"A well-written, well-researched book."—School Library Connection

"This touching read will stir empathy and compassion about the harrowing plight of refugees. Abawi . . . helps give perspective on how religion can be used to help create a world where the most basic human rights are violated."—Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399546853
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 01/22/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 80,786
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Atia Abawi is a foreign news correspondent who was stationed for almost five years in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was born to Afghan parents in West Germany and was raised in the United States. Her first book for teens was the powerful The Secret Sky, about forbidden romance between different ethnic tribes in Afghanistan. She currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Conor Powell, and their son, Arian. You can follow her on Twitter @AtiaAbawi.

Read an Excerpt

Hours passed at the site of their bombed-out apartment building. Most of the survivors could do nothing but watch and weep as the corpses were lined up on the ground—bodies that included Tareq’s grandmother and mother.

The moon shone bright as he lay between his mama and tehta. Holding their lifeless hands, Tareq tried breathing in his mother’s scent one last time, but all he could smell was smoke and dust.

He squeezed her palm, ignoring the sirens that engulfed his neighborhood. Although limp, it was still the same hand that he had held as a timid child when stepping into crowded souks in search of spices and clothes. He stroked the elegant fingers that had caressed him gently, making him feel warm and safe. “I will be okay, Mama, please don’t worry. I will take care of my little brothers and sisters just like you took care of us.” He looked at her closed eyes with those perfectly arched brows and took in her beauty. Even dead, his mother looked peaceful and gracious. Tareq brought her delicate hand to his mouth, pressing it to his lips ever so gently. A kiss goodbye. A finality he didn’t want to accept; no child ever does, no matter their age.

When he looked up, he was brought back into the current chaos, listening to the sounds of wails and the sirens. The man in the white helmet wasn’t alone: There were many wearing the same uniform—they all had the same tan vests and tired eyes. Some helmets were brighter, others stained with the gloom of war, a thick layer of death and broken souls.

Tareq spotted the man who had pulled him out—Ahmed—marching forward, carrying something. His headlamp beamed in front of him, making it hard to see what was in his arms. It was when he got closer that Tareq recognized the long dark brown hair bouncing with Ahmed’s every step.

“I’m sorry, habibi.”

He handed Farrah’s wilted body over to her big brother, who rocked the young girl in his arms as he kissed her round cheek. The tears falling from his face cleaned the dust from hers.

“I found her in the room next to where I found you.” Ahmed quickly turned and walked away, unable to take the grief.

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