Tareq lives happily with his big family in Syria until war tears his world apart. When his home and half his family are destroyed, Tareq struggles to survive. This story follows his efforts to escape a country filled with civil war, hatred, and fear. However, escaping the country isn’t enough. Tareq and his family will have to face many more horrors just to find a place with acceptance and a chance for a brighter future.
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is a painful yet powerfully important book. Tareq’s experience, although fictional, introduces young adult readers to the harsh life of a war refugee. Abawi doesn’t shy away from hard subjects, but she focuses on the ‘helpers’ that aid refugees in their struggle rather than sharing only the darkness and horror. This book will be difficult for some readers, but I feel Tareq’s story is important for teens to hear. We all need more empathy and understanding for these people who face so much suffering. I recommend reading this book as a family or with a discussion group to help younger readers process the reality of these circumstances in our world today. I hope many will read Tareq’s story and be inspired to join the ‘helpers’ of the world in the cause of the refugees.