Reema and Caylin live in the same apartment building in Glasgow. Reema recently resettled there after fleeing Syria with her family as refugees, but both Reema and Caylin are struggling: to make friends, to help their families, and to fit in.
Although seemingly from different worlds, Reema and Caylin have a lot in common. They are both fierce but caring and have both suffered tremendous loss; Reema lost her home in Syria, and Caylin lost her grandparents and, as a result, her mother, who’s fallen into alcoholism. But more than anything, the two can run like the wind. After finding a young fox in the back shed of the apartment building, the two begin to bond over caring for the fox and her newborn babies. Caylin, who turned inward and isolated after her grandparents died and her mother lapsed, begins to open up to Reema, who is steadily growing accustomed to her new life. By alternating the two girls’ first-person narrations (punctuating them with the fox’s voice in verse), Williamson allows readers to quickly relate to both white Glaswegian Caylin and Syrian-immigrant Reema, seeing in them reflections of the many problems children face around the world today. Her writing is culturally sensitive, incorporating various Arabic phrases and Islamic practices without Orientalizing them or sensationalizing the circumstances.
With her two characters, Williamson movingly makes it clear that working-class solidarity traverses borders, race, ethnicity, and religion. (Fiction. 10-15)