After her father is severly beaten and her grandfather disappears forever Mahtab's family must leave their home in Herat, Afghanistan and endure a harsh journey over the mountain passes into Pakistan. There her father makes the only decision he can - to go on ahead of his family all the way to Australia. Mahtab's best friend Leila went to Iran with her family but Mahtab's father knows an Australian man and he has decided to embark on the risky journey to the other side of the world so his family can know freedom and peace.
Mahtab tells the story of their family's journey from Pakistan to Indonesia then on a small boat to Australia. They do not know if her father is still alive or even if he is in Australia. Once in the land they dream will be their safe haven Mahtab finds the Refugee Holding Centre to be like a prison and despite their new friend Catherine who is helping her learn English she falls into a dark pit of depression. A realistic portrayl of the fears and hopes of refugees - this story ends on a very hpeful and triumphant note.
Inspired by the true stories of young women in year 11 at Holroyd High School western Sydney, Libby Gleeson wanted write a novel showing the escape from persecution in a homeland to a new lifestyle in Australia.
Here is Libby Gleeson speaking about her book and what inspired her.
Libby Gleeson's website