From Afghanistan to America, family matters most in this companion to Shooting Kabul, which Kirkus Reviews called “an ambitious story with much to offer.”
A rough and tumble tomboy, twelve-year-old Ariana couldn’t be more different from her cousin Laila, who just arrived from Afghanistan with her family. Laila is a proper, ladylike Afghan girl, one who can cook, sew, sing, and who is well versed in Pukhtun culture and manners. Arianna hates her. Laila not only invades Ariana’s bedroom in their cramped Fremont townhouse, but she also becomes close with Mariam Nurzai, Ariana’s best friend.
Then a rival Afghan grocery store opens near Ariana’s family store, reigniting a decades-old feud tracing back to Afghanistan. The cousins, Mariam, and their newfound frenemie, Waleed Ghilzai, must ban together to help the families find a lasting peace before it destroys both businesses and everything their parents have worked for.
Description taken from Goodreads.
I went through this whole book without realizing it was the companion to SHOOTING KABUL. However, I did love both of these books. SHOOTING KABUL was more based around the tradition and terror around what was/is really happening in Afghanistan and the Middle East. I loved the realism to SK and I felt that it helped me to gather a lot more insight into what was really going on.
With SAVING KABUL CORNER, I felt that Senzai gave me a look into what’s going on in America and how it’s affecting families from all over the place.
I loved Ariana’s POV. I felt that she was real, and her journey into getting to know her cousin and the rest of her family really meant a lot to me. I don’t believe that this is just Afghanistan. I think that people and all different minority groups in the US/Canada/etc. feel that sort of worrying as well. SKC is just an example of the stress/shame/worry/prejudice that can come along in the sort of situation that Ariana and Laila found their family in. There were so many lessons to this story and I loved seeing Ariana’s voice in it all. She stands apart from Fadi, and both SKC and SK stand on their own as two parts of the spectrum.
I enjoyed the plotline of SKC a lot. Even though it was packed, it didn’t feel confusing. The conflict and resolution were understandable, realistic and I loved how the characters themselves could relate to the other family. Even though this book is targeted towards a middle-grade audience, I would really recommend it for ages 8+. It’s a great way to learn about a different culture, and while it could be slow for kids who want more action themes, I really liked the fun contemporary adventure here. 4 stars.
pg count for the ebook: 288
Companion: Shooting Kabul