Kirkus Reviews QR Code
REFUGEES by Catherine Stine


by Catherine Stine

Pub Date: Feb. 8th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-73179-5
Publisher: Delacorte

Affecting characterizations and situations bring warmth to this tale that weaves together September 11, 2001 in Manhattan and the recent history of Afghanistan. Gentle, poetry-loving Johar lives in Baghlan, a small village; he knits hats, herds sheep, and worries about the encroaching Taliban and his brother’s connection with it. When their hut is burned and their illegal-teacher aunt arrested, Johar grabs his 3-year-old cousin and treks to a refugee camp in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Dawn runs away from a foster home in San Francisco to Manhattan, arriving just days before the terrorist attack. Her response to the tragedy involves playing flute for victims’ families, which induces a thaw of her 11-year-long emotional shutdown. She finally connects with her foster mother—a Red Cross doctor who’s hired Johar to help in the camp in Pakistan—and with Johar too. Stine’s writing stumbles; it’s overly expository and deliberate, and the prologue reveals too much. However, memorable characters and sudden rare beauty make it impossible not to care about Dawn and Johar’s world. (author’s note, Afghan-Persian glossary, Afghanistan update, Manhattan update) (Fiction. YA)