Groundwood Books Ltd|September 1, 2010|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-88899-974-0
Recommended for ages 14 and up – 208 pages.
Finalist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award
Orphaned and plagued with the grief of losing everyone he loved, fifteen-year-old Abdul has made a long, fraught journey from his war-torn home in Baghdad, only to end up in The Jungle – the squalid, makeshift migrant community in Calais, France.
When an altercation at the soup kitchen ends up with him accidentally stabbing a policeman, Abdul has to flee, and in desperation he takes a spot in a small boat heading to England. A sudden skirmish leaves the boat stalled in the middle of the Channel, the pilot dead, and four young people remaining – Abdul, Rosalia, a Romani girl who has escaped from the white slave trade; Cheslav, gone AWOL from a Russian military school; and Jonah, the boat pilot’s ten-year-old nephew.
The four of them end up hijacking a yacht and, despite their fear and mistrust, they form a kind of makeshift family. And as the authorities close in on them, they find refuge in an unusual place – a child’s secret cave on the English coast.
Abdul is a Kurdish refugee from Iraq who at fifteen-years of age has lost everyone in his family through the war and terror that has plagued his homeland. He meets a boy is own age and they become fast friends, both enjoying playing guitar and loving The Beatles. One day, Kalil, is beaten to death in front of Abdul’s very eyes and he vowed then to go to England to Penny Lane in honour of Kalil.
Abdul first ends up in France where he meets an unlikely group of kids who oddly enough end up making a sort of makeshift family. Rosalia, is a Romani girl who has escaped from the white slave trade but she is one tough cookie; Cheslav, is AWOL from a Russian military school and has an attitude like no other; and Jonah, the ten-year-old nephew of the horrible man whose small boat they are on in France escaping to England.
When Abdul boards the smuggler’s boat with the other kids he really thinks his life is finally heading in the right direction, but that is not to be. When a storm suddenly blows up things escalate quickly and become out-of-hand. From here the story really takes off and you’ll find yourself reading faster and faster because you can’t wait to find out what is going to happen next.
NO SAFE PLACE was a sad story but showed the strength, endurance, and courage of a group of young people who had lived rough and tough lives but came out in the end as whole people. I loved it!!