Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Eleventh Trade by Alyssa Hollingsworth - ADVISABLE

The Eleventh Trade by Alyssa Hollingsworth, 304 pages. Roaring Brook Press, (Macmillan), 2018. $17. Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (suicide bomber).



One of the few possessions Sami and his baba brought to American when they fled Afghanistan was an instrument called a rebab. When a thief grabs it out of Sami’s hand in a Boston metro station, he’s devastated, but determined to get it back. Luckily, he meets Dan. Not only does Dan introduce Sami to Ebay, but after witnessing his soccer skills, he convinces Sami to join the Rec Center soccer team. Dan easily locates the stolen rebab on Ebay, but the pawnshop owner wants $700 for it. Beginning with a Manchester United keychain, Sami begins trading up for better items. It takes eleven trades to raise the money he needs.

Through flashbacks, we get a glimpse of what happened to Sami’s parents before he and his grandfather fled Afghanistan. Unfortunately, I wasn’t given enough detail to feel the intensity I should have for such a tragedy, but the author effectively portrays what it is like to be an immigrant from a Muslim country in America. The strength of the story is the idea of trading up. It reminded me of a real account of a guy who started with a red paperclip and ended with a house using Craigslist. Middle grade readers will be interested in this plot point.

Valerie McEnroe, Media Specialist

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