Everything changes for Aster the night her brother dies. Suddenly she's the only hope of the family, and instead of an early marriage to a boy from her small village in Pakistan, her parents decide to send her to the government high school in her brother's place.
Aster is excited about this unexpected opportunity for a career, but, as a Christian, she is unprepared for the difficulties of attending a Muslim school: her fellow students are far from welcoming and one of her teachers takes an instant dislike to her. One day, she is accused of intentionally making a spelling mistake to insult the holy prophet.
Her teacher is incensed and accuses her of blasphemy. A violent crowd forms outside the school and Aster is taken to jail to be tried at a later date. A young social justice lawyer takes up her case, and Aster's Australian cousin, Maryam, starts an online campaign to free Aster.
But will it be enough to save her?
Aster is a 13 year old Christian girl living in Pakistan. Her older brother has a place at the government high school but when he dies, her parents decide to send her to school in his place. Unfortunately, Aster faces many challenges as a Christian in a Muslim school.
When Aster makes a spelling mistake, her teacher accuses her of blasphemy and insulting the prophet and Aster is arrested and sent to jail.
Aster’s happy childhood is gone forever, but she never gives up hope.
With a young social justice lawyer and her cousin creating an online campaign to free her, the long process to a trial begins.
A story that will move you to tears, as Astor is placed in an adult prison for making a simple mistake. It will make you appreciate your own freedom and question the rights of children in other countries.
A perfect novel for class discussion of freedom of speech and human rights, suitable for those in Year 7 and up.
Reviewed by Michelle