13 year old Sami has a good life in Damascus, playing football and computer games with his friends, nagging his parents for new trainers and trying to get time on the iPad. Although he knows there is war in the rest of the country, he never seriously imagines it will reach Damascus. It’s a normal life; a peaceful life – and as it turns out, a life that can be destroyed at any moment.
When a bomb goes off at a shopping mall, shattering his little sister’s childhood, his family decide to sell everything and flee Syria. So begins Sami’s journey across Europe, and into danger, poverty and fear.
Despite all the trauma he experiences, Sami’s story is sadly the best-case scenario for a refugee, as the sub-plot with his friend Aadam suggests. Sami is privileged in Damascus and this privilege – a father with money and a professional, sought-after job with a strong support network in the UK, is what saves him in many circumstances. On other occasions, it is sheer luck.