Clover Book Club: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is an entirely new kind of must-read. Not only is it raw and emotional and brilliantly written, but as we’re living amidst one of the world’s worst refugee crises in history, this tale of a teen refugee in Syria is especially relevant. See what our readers thought about the book below, then add it to your 2018 reading list asap—and pass it along to your friends when you’re finished (because this story needs to be shared!).
Atia Abawi’s A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is a visceral, gut-wrenching story of a teenage boy trying to survive the horrific destruction of his native country while fighting the demons haunting him on the way to a new life. Tareq’s journey from war-torn Syria to an unwelcoming Europe was definitely not easy to read. He dealt with immense loss and pain every step of the way. However, his faith never wavered and hope was never lost.
My friends and I were excited to read a book that was so relevant to the world today; we definitely weren’t disappointed. We all came out of the novel with a better understanding of the refugee crisis. Before, we’d never really considered how difficult their lives were, even after escaping danger.
The role of Destiny as the narrator added a unique element to the plotline. Destiny told the story of one boy’s struggle within the context of a huge scope of history. We were transported from Syria to Turkey to Greece, each country painted as richly as the next. Separate accounts intertwined to create a beautiful narrative of people helping each other survive horrible things. This novel is a testament to the persistence of humanity in the darkest of times.
I’m not someone who enjoys reading books about wars in her free time; but after reading A Land of Permanent Goodbyes, I certainly am. This realistic and straight-up emotional story taught me the significant difference a single person can make in other’s lives. Narrated by Destiny, it follows two different people. First there’s Tareq, a Syrian, whose family is forced to flee to the Middle East after a tragedy happens. Then there’s, Alexia, an American college student, who is volunteering and helping refugees as they make it to Greece.
Thanks to the excellent writing, I felt an intense connection with both Tareq and Alexia. Like me, Tareq is close to his family; he’s also the oldest child who helps keep track of his younger siblings (something I can also relate to!). The risky journey Tareq's family takes is terrifyingly realistic and shows the dangerous trips refugees take, even today. Alexia’s side of the story illustrates how generous people like her help those in need. It also proves how much help is still needed.
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is a book with a purpose. Atia Abawi’s story must be told (and retold!) in order to reach as many people as possible. It shines light on a situation that we, as Americans, are so unaware of. I’d like to end with my favorite quote: "Please don't be scared of us. We are more terrified of your reactions. We are broken people who are haunted by our past, our futures and our dreams. We narrowly escaped death, the war, the rapes, the murders and the killers—we have family who didn't—please don't think those monsters represent us."
This letter was brought to you by our pals at Penguin Teen. Now that you’ve heard what our readers have to say, order a copy of A Land of Permanent Goodbyes here.