Reviews for My Name Is Parvana

Booklist Reviews 2012 October #2
Captured and imprisoned as a suspected terrorist by American soldiers in Afghanistan, 15-year-old Parvana keeps silent and concentrates on her memories. The soldiers connect the teen with the bombing of the ruined school where they found her. Her cell--a room of her own with a bed and running water--seems luxurious, yet she is made to stand for hours, awakened at night, and subjected to constant Donny Osmond music. Throughout the endless days and nights of her captivity, she replays scenes from the past in her head: the triumphant school opening, her frustration at being a lowly student, the threats from the Taliban, and the horror of her mother's death. "This is Afghanistan," her friend Shauzia says. "What do you want--a happy ending?" In her unlikely conclusion, Ellis at least offers some hope, and her author's note provides background context. Readers don't need to have read earlier titles in the Breadwinner series to enjoy this moving story, but those who have will be happy to see how Parvana has kept her resilience and determination intact. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
In post-Taliban Afghanistan, fifteen-year-old Parvana (The Breadwinner) is captured by Americans and undergoes enhanced interrogation to determine if she's a terrorist; alternating with this account are flashbacks set in her mother's trail-blazing girls' school. There are some unexplained specifics and the flashbacks are sometimes difficult to follow, but the cultural details are rich and the story of Afghani women banding together is inspiring.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
In a follow-up that turns the Breadwinner Trilogy into a quartet, 15-year-old Parvana is imprisoned and interrogated as a suspected terrorist in Afghanistan. When her father's shoulder bag is searched, Parvana's captors find little of apparent value--a notebook, pens and a chewed-up copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. Parvana refuses to talk; her interrogator doesn't even know if she can speak. The interrogator reads aloud the words in her notebook to decide if the angry written sentiments of a teenage girl can be evidence of guilt. Parvana is stoic, her keen mind ever alert as she has to "stand and listen to her life being spouted back at her," a life in a land where warplanes are as "common as crows," where someone was always "tasting dirt, having their eardrums explode and seeing their world torn apart." The interrogation, the words of the notebook and the effective third-person narration combine for a thoroughly tense and engaging portrait of a girl and her country. This passionate volume stands on its own, though readers new to the series and to Ellis' overall body of work will want to read every one of her fine, important novels. Readers will learn much about the war in Afghanistan even as they cheer on this feisty protagonist. (author's note) (Fiction. 11 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 August #4

In this follow-up to the Breadwinner trilogy, set five years later, Ellis revisits her strong, 15-year-old heroine, now living in post-Taliban Afghanistan. The novel alternates between Parvana's struggles in an American prison (she is a suspect in an explosion at her mother's school) and flashbacks to her life before capture, first as a student at the school and then as a teacher. Though Parvana understands and reads English fluently, she refuses to speak ("She knew she could not trust them. All she could trust was herself"), silently enduring sleep deprivation and harsh interrogation. In the flashbacks, Ellis strongly sketches family tensions, including a betrayal by Parvana's sister Noori and Parvana's complicated relationship with her mother. A scene in which Parvana's discovery of an injured American soldier foils her near-escape underscores her compassion and morality. The resolution is perhaps too tidy, but Ellis succeeds in putting a human face on the headlines and the brutality of the Afghan war, while answering many questions about the fate of a heroine whose personality and force of will shine through. Ages 11-up. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

Gr 6-10--This sequel to the series is not merely an important book about the difficulty of girls' lives in war-torn, U.S.-occupied Afghanistan. It is also an example of vivid storytelling with a visceral sense of place, loss, distrust, and hope. Strong-willed Parvana, now 15, is inexplicably and stoically silent throughout her incarceration and none-too-gentle interrogation by U.S. troops. Alternate chapters take readers back through the past year during which Parvana and her family (and other beloved characters from previous books) defend their girls' school in a town hostile to the notion of female education. Although Ellis relies heavily upon readers' attachment to certain characters formed in earlier books, newcomers still get a strong sense of personality from Parvana's friends and family members. The Americans and minor Afghani figures are tossed about as caricatures, e.g., the overly suspicious commanding officer, the ignorant racist private, the volatile village men who throw rocks at girls whose head coverings have slipped. Why Parvana remains silent in U.S. custody will be difficult for many young readers to understand, but Ellis makes it easy to immerse oneself in this very foreign place, where hope thrives despite explosions and abused child brides and stonings. A must-buy title.--Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC

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VOYA Reviews 2013 April
Parvana of the Breadwinner Trilogy is now fifteen. She has been taken from a bombed-out school by American soldiers and imprisoned as a possible terrorist. Her only defense is to say nothing. For days, she is silent in the face of sleep deprivation, constant questioning, and harassment. Parvana thinks about her life at the school with her mother and sisters as she waits to see what the military will do with her. Through her memories, the reader can see what life is like in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Most think girls should not be educated, and it is a constant struggle to keep the school open. They are caught between the Taliban and the foreign military, just trying to live their lives in a war-torn country. They are often threatened with violence unless they close the school. When her mother went missing, Parvana was left to run things and protect those who were left--until the threats become reality This compelling story gives a glimpse of what life is like for those living in Afghanistan. Women of the country show courage as they try to make a better life for girls living there, in spite of threats and oppression. Parvana's strength in her imprisonment is inspiring. Although there is not a "happy" ending, there is hope. Readers of the Breadwinner series will want to read the continuation of Parvana's story. This could also be used for classroom discussion of everyday life in a country at war.--Deborah L. Dubois 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.