This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
7 years ago, everything seemed perfect for Aria and her family. They lived in a 2 bedroom house with a sitting area, toilet and a kitchen. They also had a little balcony where most of Aria’s favourite memories lived, surrounded by beautiful gardens and exultant faces.
This all changed the day Aria turned 9.
The family had to move from Egypt into a place they never felt safe in and for good reason. The family of 5 moved to Herat which is the largest city in Afghanistan and is based near the centre of this country.
They moved into a miniature hut house which was built with the family’s remaining life savings.
Aria was the middle child in the family and had an elder brother, Aqib as well as a 6 year old sister called Meya.
Aria’s parents, Omar and Yasmina were always hard working and supportive. But, when Omar and Yasmina lost their eldest child, Amina, times got extremely hard.
Aria’s parents spent all their savings on medical care but this wasn’t enough as Amina was severely ill and so passed away at the age of 21. The funeral costs resulted in Omar having to work extra hard but when he got laid off work, they were forced to leave.
It was different being in Afghanistan, especially for this family. Being Muslim in a country like this brought up numerous different expectations, and most of these were based on false truth.
Due to these expectations and rules, Yasmina couldn’t work so less money was being brought in for the family to live on, but they survived. For 7 years, the family managed to persist even in the unpleasant conditions they lived in. For example, the family all had to sleep in one room, travel miles to get clean water and sometimes had no money for any food.
However, one day, the family’s condition went from bad to worse. The day they’d always knew would come but didn’t expect when. The day when Taliban soldiers invaded Herat including Aria’s family home. They were sent to find more soldiers but took them as slave labourers and so overran the family, stealing Aqib and Omar as they needed male soldiers but had no authority as they took them without their consent.
They also kidnapped Yasmina and Meya in their home keeping them as ransom for their immoral needs.
Aria has always had a diary that was gifted to her when she was 8 by her elder sister, Amina to write down all her memories and experiences so that she can look back on them.
In this, she wrote down everything as if it was written to her sister. This included, her most favourite days and how they played out back when her family was happy, but little did she know she’d also write her most fearful memories as she wrote down everything that happened since this day:
Dear Amina, 6th May 2000
I know I haven’t wrote down anything in a while, nothing’s changed since the last time I wrote. But now, everything’s different. I don’t know what to do, I can’t even cry anymore. I’m not at home right now, I’m in a place that I don’t even know, and hiding from depraved people who have took away everything from me.
These people took Aqib and Father. They didn’t say anything, they just dragged them out of the house.
Mother begged me to take Meya and run but Meya wouldn’t stop crying and I thought she was behind me when I hid but she wasn’t.
These awful men tied up Meya and Mother as I hid behind the chestnut drawer and watched. I wanted to scream and run to Mother but I needed to get out of there and find help… but how could I have?
Who could I have trusted? What could I have done? I carried on hiding, whilst more horrific men came into the home. I prayed, I prayed to God. I prayed so you could know what was happening.
I wish you was here,
JanThompson: This book gives a beautiful description of a country which one rarely gets to see. The contrast between rich and poor is very evident too.The storyline actually sheds a compelling light on why women in certain countries sell themselves just to help their families or even to survive themselves. I ...
Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!
ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?
dragonswilleise: I loved this book, it was nearly impossible to put down from start to finish. It was fast passed without being overwhelming and slowed down where needed. Overall this was an amazing novel that I will definitely recommend to others.
thePeeJ: aced it boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...
tyleroakleyfan: thank you for writing this story I loved it. it was great I enjoyed every minute of it I couldn't stop reading you did a fantastic job. Thanks for killing ron he was starting to piss me off. he was being a dick. I love that you made it a gay love story its about time someone did. love it great job.
263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."