Book: Where The Streets Have A Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Published January 2008 by Scholastic|313 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: YA Contemporary
Thirteen year old Hayaat is on a mission. She believes a handful of soil from her grandmother’s ancestral home in Jerusalem will save her beloved Sitti Zeynab’s life. The only problem is that Hayaat and her family live behind the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank, and they’re on the wrong side of check points, curfews, and the travel permit system. Plus, Hayaat’s best friend Samy always manages to attract trouble. But luck is on the pair’s side as they undertake the journey to Jerusalem from the Palestinian Territories when Hayaat and Samy have a curfew-free day to travel.
But while their journey may only be a few kilometers long, it could take a lifetime to complete…
Humorous and heartfelt, Where The Streets Had A Name deals with the Israel-Palestinian conflict with sensitivity and grace and will open a window on this timely subject.
I liked Where The Streets Had A Name! Not as much as the other books I’ve read from her, but I still really liked it!
Unfortunately, the conflict we see in the book is something that I know nothing about, but I really am glad that Abdel-Fattah wrote such a great book. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to live in Hayaat’s world, and it definitely made me realize how little I pay attention to what’s going on in the world.
I think there may be an assumption that the reader knows at least a little bit about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and I think an author’s note would have been nice. Not that I, or other reader’s, can’t learn more about it on their own, but…it still would have been nice. It didn’t take away from the novel at all, and it’s a story I think everyone needs to read. And even though I’m not at all familiar with the conflict we see in the book, I think this book is so important because I think it’s about a side that probably doesn’t get the coverage that the other side does.
You still get a clear picture of what life is like for Hayaat and her family, especially with some of the flashbacks/stories we see in the book. I really felt for them, and Abdel-Fattah does such a wonderful job at showing several different perspectives, and how everyone…they’re just people. It would have been so easy for her to write one side as…bad…but she doesn’t. She’s very neutral, but it’s also clear that it was important to her that this story be told. While it’s very different than her other books, I am glad I read it because it’s about hope and courage and how important family is, even when things have changed so much.
I also really liked the glossary at the end of the book, and I did find myself flipping back and forth when I came across a word I didn’t know. It was really helpful to have!
4 stars. I really liked it, but I didn’t love it. I still recommend it, though!