In early 2001, Fadi and his family flee Afghanistan when the Taliban tries to recruit Fadi’s father, Habib, to work for them. During their escape, Fadi’s 6-year-old sister, Mariam is lost in the shuffle. The family must go to California without her. Once there, Fadi struggles with fitting in at a new school and in a new country, all while dealing with the agonizing guilt that it’s his fault his sister is missing.
A photography contest at school with a grand prize trip to India presents Fadi with an idea to make it back to Afghanistan, find Mariam and regain his honor. When the tragic events of September 11th strike, Fadi and his family must not only deal with the persecution that comes from being Middle Eastern, but with the fact that finding Mariam has just become a lot more difficult.
Senzai’s hopeful story provides the reader with a glimpse into another culture, one that is often quite misunderstood.