"Saeed's timely and stirring middle-grade debut is a celebration of resistance and justice."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The compelling story of a girl's fight to regain her life and dreams after being forced into indentured servitude.


Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal's Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she's busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when--as the eldest daughter--she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn't lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens--after an accidental run-in with the son of her village's corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family's servant to pay off her own family's debt.

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal--especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal's growing awareness of the Khans' nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published on May 8, 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books
ISBN-10: 0399544682
ISBN-13: 9780399544682
4 Book Reviews
  • sylvie55555
    sylvie55555over 2 years44 stars
    In this book, Amal is young girl that lives in a quiet village. She complains that her town is boring, but she also takes it for granted. So when she ends of having to go be a maid for the wealthiest family in the village that everyone is afraid of, she is upset, to say the least of it. Plus she knows she can't blame anyone except herself and her temper. But the Khans, the family she is going to work for, seems to be able to get away with anything. But what can Amal do? She is just a village girl, after all. Read the book to find out more! Happy Reading!
    • Tatum Smithover 2 years
      I like it
      • sunn13
        sunn13over 2 years55 starsFeatured
        “Did it matter? Have we not taught you how to act in public? Bite your tongue one minute and prevent a lifetime of burden.” A gripping story packed with heroism, heartache and hope. Set-in modern-day Pakistan, 12-year-old Amal’s only dream is to become a teacher one day. Unfortunately, Amal’s ambitions spiral out of control when she has to pay a hefty price for being disrespectful to the landlord’s son. Forced to become a servant, she faces daily struggles with courage. Will her sheer determination lead to her freedom? Author, Aisha Saeed, formally from Pakistan, easily identifies with the main character, Amal. Friendship, perseverance, loyalty, diligence and enthusiasm all come together in this soul-stirring novel. This book truly deserves 5 stars because as a 12-year-old, I realise how fortunate I am for all that I have. Another must read by Aisha Saeed is “Written in the Stars”.
        • e06
          e06over 3 years55 stars
          I read this book in 2 days! This book is so interesting, it makes you realize that we should be grateful for what we have, even the small things,things could probably be worse. Amal learns this when it is already to late.... She is a servant for the most notorious man in her village. She finds out things she doesn't want to know. All her dreams crushed because of a simple mistake.She will have some important decisions to make, some that can threaten her family... definitely recommend!