Where I Belong

Where I Belong

By Author / Illustrator

Gillian Cross


Real life

Age range(s)



Oxford University Press




Paperback / softback




There are guns and bandits in this story. And supermodels. And there's drought and starvation too. Are you wondering how they can all come together? Well, that's how life is these days. Things don't happen neatly, in separate little places. We're all caught by the great spider's web of media that spans the world. That's where the story is set. The world. It's the story of Abdi and Khadija and Freya (that's me) and what happened to us because of Somalia...



This is an outstanding book from a multi-award winning author, that perfectly captures the interconnectedness of modern life. It is dealing with the big issues of poverty and justice but in an entirely non-patronising or sermonising way. Khadija may be an illegal, economic refugee from war torn and poverty stricken Somalia, but she is still able to contact her family by e-mail, as will seem entirely natural to the Facebook generation. The book's three main protagonists have very different backgrounds. In addition to Khadija, we have Abdi, a second generation immigrant, who struggles to find his place within British society and within his own culture. Then we have Freya, who is only too aware that she lives a seemingly privileged existence as the daughter of a famous designer, but who nevertheless feels lonely and unloved. These involving characters are then swept up in a page turning story of high fashion, guns, ransom and kidnap. It is such an exciting, gripping read that nobody will feel preached at and yet will be unable to stop themselves pondering the big questions of what the greedy consumerism of the West is doing to the world, what are the causes of terrorism and what is the role of religion in our societies. It takes a very clever, subtle writer indeed to be able to achieve this so well.

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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