The Eleventh Trade


In Afghanistan, Sami’s Baba (grandfather) was a famous musician. His rebab playing was adored. Now it earns them money when he busks on the Boston streets. Therefore when the instrument is snatched from Sami, the pair are faced with a loss of income. However, it is much more than this, for the rebab is a link with their past, with Sami’s parents, their home, culture, their torturous journey from Afghanistan to Iran, Greece and now to Boston.

What is Sami to do? Surely he cannot fall on the kindness of strangers? After all Boston is a strange land. Although Sami attends school and speaks good English, he’s determined to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. Therefore Dan’s interest in him, from the Manchester United football key tag, to his computer search for rebab sellers, is unsettling. Thereafter, when Dan persuades him to join him at the rec and play soccer, Sami is cautious. Yet what is really being offered here? Is this friendship the start of something more? How does it fit with Sami’s memories of the past, the filtered recall he has of his parents before the shattering glass? How will Baba feel about Sami’s assimilation, and how might Sami keep quiet his determination to earn back the stolen rebab? After all, it seems though it will only take trading. By Sami’s reckoning, by The Eleventh Trade, he will have it…

This is a quite magnificent book, pacy, moving and with a believable boy and gripping story at its heart. Bookwagon is proud to present The Eleventh Trade. 

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist


The Eleventh Trade

Alyssa Hollingsworth

(Piccadilly Press)

Sami budgets carefully toward The Eleventh Trade  to earn the money necessary to buy back his grandfather’s rebab. The stringed instrument has been their life force and link to their home and family but now it’s gone. While Sami blames himself for its theft, he is determined to get it back. After all, haven’t he and Baba lost and endured so much in their battle to survive? Although doubters like Pete may try to deter him, and Sami is reluctant to share either his story or feelings, something other than trades enter Sami’s route. It seems as though a penchant for soccer (football) and thereafter his own likability, draw Dan and Layla, Coach, Hamida and more who want to help him and become part of his life.
Yet, how can a boy who struggles to remember what he lost, admit this new world? Furthermore, how does it fit into the old ways, those he left behind, to which Baba and he cling? Then, how will Baba cope without the rebab? How will Sami ever manage without Baba? He’s aware of what they’ve shared, the debt he owes his grandfather, their fragility and ‘difference’ in a brave new world.
The Eleventh Trade packs such a powerful punch. We feel as though we’re counting Sami’s money with him, urging him toward the rebab, wanting him to find a loyal, supportive, understanding home and company. This is an outstanding story. Bookwagon urges readers of all ages to read this book.

UKLA Book Award Winner 7-11 category


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “The Eleventh Trade”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…