For as long as 15-year-old Joshua can remember, Zivan has been his best friend. But then she moves to Iraq, where her father marries her off to her cousin. Joshua has no further contact with her. This book reads like a cry of despair, in which all his pain, anguish and frustration resound.

Erna Sassen
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In his misery, Joshua battles on with self-mockery and sarcastic humour. He is a boy who would rather doodle than do homework. His sketchpads are full of pictures of Zivan. These drawings were done by Martijn van der Linden, an illustrator who is constantly breaking new ground with his skill and incredible versatility, which he demonstrates here with his convincing teenage style.

Erna Sassen’s young protagonists’ language is full of exclamations, swearwords and dark humour, yet she always touches on essential themes. This is a book about growing up between two cultures and choosing between loyalty to your family and your friends. It is YA literature of the best kind.

Erna Sassen
Erna Sassen (b. 1961) studied at the Theaterschool in Amsterdam and began her career as a radio producer and actor, including in musicals and as a nurse in a popular Dutch TV series about a hospital, making her debut as a YA author in 2004.
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