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Boy Everywhere by A M Dassu - Review

Saturday, September 25, 2021

A M Dassu is my brilliant mentor, who I pay for through Write Mentor and who I've been working with for over a year and a half now. So when I heard she had published a book, I asked for it for Christmas from my cousin and his wife. But then of course Covid happened and we couldn't see them. We ended up getting our Christmas presents in July! I was so happy to get the book though, and picked it up mid August. 

This book is about Syrian refugees. I just happened to be reading it while the world was talking about Afghan refugees as the situation worsened there. I want to be very clear here: I believe the UK can and should take so many more refugees than it has. I also want to point out that it is NOT illegal to be a refugee and to seek asylum in a country. There are many reasons why a refugee might pass through other countries in order to reach England and two of those are shown in the book - Sami and his family all speak English and they have friends in Manchester who can help to support them. 

Please educate yourself further on the plight of refugees if you don't know much about them, or indeed read this book, because Az has done a brilliant job of explaining things in really simple ways. 

So, Sami is thirteen years old and lives in Damascus with his Mama, Baba, and younger sister Sara. He goes to school where he's friends with a boy called Joseph. He is preparing for ice skating at the weekend and for the football try outs later. Then everyone is sent home from school and Sami has to go home with Joseph and his dad. 

It turns out there's been a bombing at a nearby mall. Sami is sick - he asked his mum to go and pick up new football boots for him from the mall, and he has no idea if she's okay. In the end, she and Sara are, but Sara is traumatised by what she's seen and has gone mute with the trauma.

So, Sami's mum and dad decide to leave Syria. They pack up quickly, say goodbye to Sami's grandmother, and set off for Turkey. There, they must pay smugglers to get them across to Greece. They stay in a locked basement with lots of other people and no proper sanitation. Sami is terrified and missing everyone at home - he's no way of getting in touch with Joseph. He meets a boy called Aadam who is only a couple of years older than him and who is travelling alone. 

I won't say anymore about their travel, but it was horrific, and I did feel for the whole family. They arrive in England and seek asylum. They are then split up and put in detention centres. Eventually they are released and have to stay with their family friends, Uncle Mohammed and his family. His son and wife do NOT want the family there. Sami is pretty miserable, especially when he has to start school. He starts thinking that maybe he can go back to Syria and live with his grandmother? 

I absolutely loved the book. So much happened and Sami is an excellent main character. I love how earnest he was and how much he wanted everyone to be okay. He always did what he felt was the right thing, which I liked. I liked his family. I'm giving this four out of five and would thoroughly recommend it to any lover of middle grade. 

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