Where the Streets Had a Name
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First edition cover
|Cover artist||Oliver Strewe|
|Publisher||Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd|
|Preceded by||Ten Things I Hate About Me|
Where the Streets Had a Name is a young adult novel by Randa Abdel-Fattah. It was published in April 2008, shortly after the death of the author's grandmother. It is the only book of Abdel-Fattah's to contain a dedication. It is as follows:
To my Grandmother Sitti Jamilah, who passed away on 24th April, 2008, aged 98. I had hoped that you would live to see this book and that you would be allowed to touch the soil of your homeland again. It is my consolation that you died surrounded by my father and family and friends who cherished you. May you rest in peace. And to my father-May you see a free Palestine in your lifetime.
This book is in the point of view of 13-year-old Hayaat, who is on a mission. She believes a handful of soil from her grandmother's ancestral home in Jerusalem will save her beloved Sitti Zeynab's life. The only problem is the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank, as well as the checkpoints, the curfews, the permit system, and Hayaat's best friend Samy, who is mainly interested in football and the latest elimination on X Factor, yet always manages to attract trouble.
But luck is on their side. Hayaat and Samy have a curfew-free day to travel to Jerusalem. However, while their journey is only a few kilometres long, it may take a lifetime to complete.
Hayaat is very determined, and sometimes stubborn. However, there is a hole in her heart. A few years before, she and her friend Maysaa were together when a bomb exploded. Fragments ricocheted off a wall towards Hayaat, causing wounds that would leave permanent scars. She turned to see her best friend in a pool of blood, dead. Though Hayaat is strong, she is also very troubled. She feels guilt at her friend's death, and also sadness. Frequently, she overhears her mother and grandmother talking, saying Who will marry her with those scars? Hayaat is traumatised by her past, but learns to be strong in the face of the war-torn Middle East, where she finds what it truly means to have support, and to have courage in the face of oppression.
Translation into other languages
- 2010, حينما كان للشوارع أسماء (Arabic), translated by Amira Nowaira and Nabil Nowaira, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing.