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Based on historical events, this unforgettable and inspiring tale for middle-grade readers is about a young boy torn from the only life he’s ever known and held captive as a prisoner of war.
In 1982, twelve-year-old Reza has no interest in joining Iran’s war effort against Iraq. But in the wake of a tragedy and at his mother’s urging, he decides to enlist, assured by the authorities that he will achieve paradise should he die in service to his country.
War does not bring the glory the boys of Iran have been promised, and Reza soon finds himself held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Iraq, where the guards not only threaten violence—they act upon it. Will Reza make it out alive? And if he does, will he even have a home to return to?
Friendship, heartbreak, and Reza’s very survival are at stake as he finds solace through music and forges his own path—wherever that might take him.
"Rosenblatt’s debut is fiction, but rooted in fact: the plight of 'lost boy soldiers' was all too real. Thanks to careful research and a well-written narrative, Rosenblatt brings their stories to vivid and memorable life. The lost boys, at least here, are found." —Booklist
"Reza’s adolescent rebellion, passion for music, and loyalty to his friends make him an appealing protagonist, and the constant dangers threatening him create a compelling read. Secondary characters demonstrate the complexity of attitudes and loyalties during the Iran-Iraq conflict . . . . A powerful look at a tragic period in history." —School Library Journal
"This hard-hitting first novel opens in Iran in 1982. . . . The resilience of Rosenblatt’s protagonist strikes a strong chord." —Publishers Weekly