Wendy Mills’ latest novel is a haunting story of hope amid heartbreak and hatred.
The year is 2001. Alia, a 16-year-old Muslim, is hoping to apply to a college that will help fulfill her dream of becoming a comic book artist, but her parents don’t support her choice. In a last-ditch effort to persuade her father, Alia heads to the World Trade Center North Tower, where he works. She is unaware that her life is about to change drastically, especially when she encounters Travis.
Fifteen years later, 16-year-old Jesse struggles with the hate-filled environment that has affected her family since the tragic death of her brother, Travis. Jesse’s decision to follow the wrong crowd leads not only to community service at a mosque and an eye-opening learning experience about Islam, but also to the truth about her brother.
Leading up to the 15th anniversary of the horrific events of 9/11, Mills’ compelling novel offers a stark look at disturbingly prevalent issues of religious and ethnic stereo-typing and xenophobia. The split-narrative storyline reveals that Alia and Jesse have more in common than their familial and religious beliefs seem to indicate. As their stories build and merge, Mills highlights the power of the human spirit that prevails “even in the face of incomprehensible evil”—a theme that the author hopes “the children of today and tomorrow will understand about the day the world changed.”