By: Maryam Master
Genre: YFB - General fiction
Published by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Published: 26 Jul 2022
ISBN: 9781760983529


Hero doesn't feel like a hero, but sometimes she feels as if the universe is asking her to be one. When Aria, a mysterious boy who never EVER speaks, starts at school and is picked on by His Royal Thug-ness Doofus (Rufus), Hero and her bestie Jaz feel compelled to help. But they're far too chicken to actually do anything heroic, so they befriend Aria and try to uncover the truth about him. What happened to his voice? Where did he come from? What are those three dents on his middle finger?

This is the story of a 12-year-old refugee who's trying to establish a new life in Australia, grapple with his past and, most importantly, find his voice. 'Cos, boy, does he have a story to tell.

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Twelve-year-old Hero has one best friend - the outgoing Jaz. When a new boy named Aria arrives at their school and doesn’t talk at all, he is a prime target for the school bully Rufus (aka Doofus). Hero and Jaz want to help him, so they decide they need to befriend Aria.

Aria is an Iranian refugee whose family had to flee because of his Mum’s outspoken views on women’s rights. Bad things happened in his past and Aria now chooses to be silent, but when he wins a poetry competition everyone realizes that he has a voice and that his voice needs to be heard!

Beautifully written, this is a story that will truly stay with you for a long time after you put it down.

With themes of refugees, friendship, finding your voice, bipolar disorder, hope and looking for a better future, this is a terrific story suited to readers of all ages but particularly those aged 10 - 14.

Reviewed by Rob