Safiya has a tumultuous relationship with her mum who she sees at weekends, having chosen to live with her dad when her parents split up. Whilst her mum loves musicals and theatre Safiya is into gaming and these differences often cause arguments. After the most recent of arguments Safiya’s mum ends up in hospital, really unwell and in a coma.
When Safiya goes to visit her mum she is full of guilt, certain that the argument is what caused her mum to be unwell but when she gets there she is surprised to find herself magically transported mentally to her mum’s childhood home in Kuwait, feeling the hot weather on her skin, smelling the aromas, tasting the flavours – all as if she was really there in person.
When Safiya works what causes this miraculous transportation she uses it with the hopeful intention of ultimately helping her mum to get better in hospital because Safiya makes a link between what is happening and the games shes plays at home. With each visit to Kuwait seen as a level to complete Safiya is determined to complete them successfully and reach the end, before it is too late.
I have never visited Kuwait but this book transports the reader in such an unbelievably authentic way, immersing you amongst the culture, flavours and energy of the place. The entirety of the book is an intense journey for your emotions which will undoubtedly leave you crying tears and holding this book and it’s story close to your heart as you accompany Safiya on her journey of discovery through her mothers childhood and her own where she deals with bullies and friendships that are no longer valid. The changes in Safiya as she grows during the book are small but significant overall, not only does she grow in self confidence finding herself able to confront friends and bullies for their behaviour but she grows in her understanding of just how much her and her mum have in common, realising that they aren’t so different after all.
This is the perfect book for those that are looking for a story that has amazing depth and focuses on family, friendship and an unbelievable determination in the main character with a magical theme that flows through the entire story.