Alia is a Muslim girl who aspires to draw graphic novels. She draws the adventures of Lia, her courageous alter ego, for her friends, but she is too insecure to really consider it a viable career path. She would really like to go to a special art program at NYU, but she recently got into some trouble at school and her parents don't think she deserves any special privileges. Today, September 11, 2001 is the last day that she can turn in the permission slip. She decides last minute to go before school to talk to her dad at work. He works in the World Trade Center. Can she convince him to sign the permission slip so she can follow her dreams?
Fast-forward to Jesse. Jesse's brother, Travis, died in 9/11 almost 15 years ago. To this day no one in her family knows why he was there. Since she was just a baby she doesn't really remember it and no one will talk about it with her. It has destroyed her parent's marriage and her other brother moved 7,000 miles away to Africa to get away from it all. Will her family ever be able to move on from her brother's tragic death?
This book switches back and forth between Alia and Jesse's stories. It is really fascinating to hear the perspectives of two girls who, although they are about the same age, have very different experiences. You soon see they are connected in unexpected ways. The author took a lot of time researching the real stories of those impacted by 9/11 to create the characters and timeline so they have a very authentic feel. After reading this wonderful and heart-wrenching book I feel like I have a much greater understanding of what happened and how it affected and continues to affect people to this day. I highly recommend this book not only for those who want to learn more about 9/11, but for anyone looking for an excellent and intense story about growing up, redemption, and tolerance.
This book is available in print at your local library branch and as an e-book via Overdrive
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