13yr old Zulaikha is a young Afgahnistan girl, she was born with a cleft lip. Zulaikha stepmother treats her poorly. Many boys bully and tease Zulaikha calling her Donkey face. When the American Army comes to An Daral, Zulaikha's small village she might be able to have lip surgery.
Zulaikha is close to her older sister, Zeynab. As the two daughters of the house, they have a lot of responsiblites, including looking after their younger brothers Khalid and Habib's.
Zulaikha's father and older brother Najib are helping to build a new school. Girls aren't allowed to go school. Zulaikha still remembers the letters her mother taught her and wants an education.
I really liked this novel. I got a good sense of Zulaikha and her village. Since Reedy served in the U.S. Army I assumed, the Army would play large part in the story. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the story stayed focused on Zulaikha and her family.
read an excerpt
While I was reading Words in the Dust, I couldn't help but think about Wanting Mor by Ruksana Khan. The main character is also an Afghani girl with a cleft lip. I think the two pair nicely together.