When Obayda's father is injured in a bombing in Kabul, her family decides to move to a small village so they can be closer to extended family who can take care of them while her father recovers. When they move, it is decided that Obayda will become a bacha posh, a girl dressed as a boy, to bring good luck to the family and eventually to be able to get a job to help with family finances. It is a huge adjustment for Obayda to become Obayd, and at first she doesn't do a very convincing job. Then she meet another bacha posh, and she teaches Obayda how to enjoy the freedom of being a boy. She is just beginning to enjoy her new role, when something happens to bring it all to an abrupt end.
I love books that allow me to take a peek into a totally different culture. This story is so interesting to me, and Obayda is a very sympathetic character. There is an underlying and very obvious political message about how girls are oppressed in some middle eastern cultures, but Hashmi lets it arise naturally through the story, so it doesn't feel heavy handed. This is a great choice for people who like the books of Gloria Whelan, like Homeless Bird. (256 p.)