The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

The Map of Salt and Stars

This rich, moving, and lyrical debut novel is to Syria what The Kite Runner was to Afghanistan; the story of two girls living eight hundred years apart—a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmaker—places today’s headlines in the sweep of history, where the pain of exile and the triumph of courage echo again and again.It is the summer of 2011, and Nour has just lost her father to ca...

Details The Map of Salt and Stars

TitleThe Map of Salt and Stars
Release DateMay 1st, 2018
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Reviews The Map of Salt and Stars

  • Angela M
    There have been quite a few novels written over the last several years about the refugee experience, mostly how they are trying to manage their new lives in the US. This book was somewhat different with a family moving back to Syria in 2011 after the father dies. This proved to be the worst possible time with a civil war looming and it tells of their harrowing and heartbreaking struggle to find safety. We follow 12 year old Nour and her mother an...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    4 colorful and descriptive stars to The Map of Salt and Stars! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ The Syrian civil war and refugee crisis stay in the forefront of my mind most days. I am heartbroken. I am deeply worried. I am listening. The Map of Salt and Stars had me intrigued since I first learned about it. I inhaled this book. Joukhadar’s writing is some of the most lyrical I’ve read. The main character, Nour, has synesthesia and sees colors, and you, the r...
  • Hannah Greendale
    For the first time in years, I think of something Mama told me when I was little: that when you make a map, you don’t just paint the world the way it is. You paint your own. Joukhadar alternates between the legendary tale of a girl battling mythological beasts across windswept dunes on her quest to “map the lands of Anatolia, Bilad Ash-Sham, and the eastern Maghreb” and the story of a young Syrian refugee who makes a harrowing journey, alo...
  • Emer
    Happy book birthday to this wonderful book!!!You know that wonderful feeling when you read the last page of a truly great story and then you clutch the book to your chest as if to hug the world within those pages? That's how I'm feeling right now. I loved this book. It was so simple and honest, laden with the most lyrically beautiful prose, and filled with gloriously human characters whose stories have touched me deeply. The story unfurls through...
  • Erin
    3.5 heartwarming stars Full Disclosure, I chose this book based on its stunning cover, its eye-catching title, and the fact that the synopsis drops in the comparison to The Kite Runner . Set against the backdrop of the unrest in Syria and coupled with a 12th century romance adventure tale, The Map of Salt and Stars certainly sheds light on one family's story as they travel from America after their father's death to Syria, only to find themselve...
  • Maxwell
    A wonderful and heartbreaking story that follows a refugee family in 2011 and an explorer in the 1200s, showing how their lives parallel one another and intertwine across time and space. The motif of the maps and colors were a lovely touch. This was a pretty impressive debut novel, with some amazing quotes in it. I think I'll just leave the rest of the review with some of my favorites."He said one day I'd tell our story back to him. But my words ...
  • katwiththehat
    I enjoyed this debut that took us through twelve-year-old Noor’s journey as her family moves from New York to Syria in 2011, then is almost immediately forced to flee Syria once the war begins and her home is destroyed. I was excited to read this #ownvoices narrative. This book is written in two timelines, present day, and a “fable” timeline from many centuries ago, connected by a love of map-making. The author writes lovely descriptions, e...
  • Chris
    “E. M. Forster taught us that ‘fiction is truer than history than history because it goes beyond the evidence.’ Jennifer Zeynab Maccani’s magic first novel is a testimony to that maxim. We’ve all been aware of the plight of Syrian refugees, but in this richly imaginative story we see one small family – both haunted by history and saved by myth – work their west. It’s beautiful and lovely and eye-opening.”
  • Marialyce
    I am going to admit I had a hard time staying with this book. It was one of the cases where I would read a chapter put the book down to return later. It was not that the writing was poor. Point in fact the writing was amazing, but the story line just could not seem to pull me into that place were time just drifted away as you became enthralled with the book. Perhaps it was because of the two stoy lines that were told or even the fact that as much...
  • Touchstone Books
    It would be impossible to overstate how proud we are to be publishing this gorgeous and important novel. Nour's voice will capture your heart and linger in your mind long after you read the final page. Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar is not only immensely talented, but has a story that needs to be told.
  • Faith
    This book didn't work for me, but the things I disliked about it probably wouldn't bother a lot of people. I usually have a problem with dual timeline stories because one is generally more compelling than the other. That leaves me liking only half, at most, of a book. In this case, I just couldn't get interested in the fairy tale set 800 years in the past. The author switched between stories in the middle of chapters, which completely destroyed t...
  • Selena
    I received a free hardback copy of The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar from Goodreads for my honest review. This is a beautifully rich and moving novel. It is a story of two girls that are living eight hundred years apart. A Syrian refugee seeking safety and a adventurer apprenticed to a famous mapmaker It's the summer of 2011, and Nour's father just passed away from cancer. Her mother, a cartographer who creates maps, decides ...
  • Inderjit Sanghera
    The narrator’s synesthesia suffuses the narrative with a harlequin array of colours; from the purple-hued breath of individuals she comes across to the glittering reflections of sunlight on cerulean sea, ‘The Map of Salt and Stars’ is a novel whose colouration reflects the world-view of Nour, her sense of despondence over the death of her father, her sense of isolation following her family’s re-migration to Syria and the chaos which ensue...
  • Petra
    “The Syria I knew is in me somewhere. And I guess it’s in you too, in its own way.”This book is really beautifully written and I found myself getting emotional a few times while reading. I really appreciate that the writer didn't go into the politics of the situation in Syria and chose to focus instead on the humanitarian aspect. I also liked that some of the historical figures and the places they visit are real.
  • Janelle
    Many thanks to Touchstone Books for my free copy of MAP OF SALT AND STARS by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar - all opinions are my own.This is a gorgeously written, heartbreaking, and inspiring story. It’s written with a unique perspective, not of a refugee figuring out life in America, but of a family who has to move back to Syria because of a tragic loss. Twelve-year-old Nour was born and raised in New York by two immigrant parents, but after her f...
  • Tania
    The salt breeze pours black water into me. It sinks deep, into a place I can't name, a place I can't chart.3.5 stars. Exquisite writing. I can't remember when last I read such beautiful descriptions. The author definitely has a way with words. She created such vivid, colourful images of all the places portrayed in the story. Nour's synesthesia also makes for very interesting descriptions. I felt deeply for everyone in her family, and the abrupt v...
  • Carol (Reading Ladies)
    4.5 stars. The Map of Salt and Stars is one of the best stories I’ve read this year. This diverse read is filled with poignant themes, unforgettable characters including two inspiring female protagonists, and beautiful writing. See more about why I loved this story by visiting my blog post!
  • Krista
    I was so excited for this book and when I first started I thought I would be disappointed. The beginning was a bit hard for me to get into. Nour, one of the main characters, has synesthesia and I was often confused or distracted by constantly learning what colors she sees in peoples voices, scents, and even letters. This book includes a lot of traveling, both by Nour and her family who are Syrian refugees and the story of Rawiya, a mapmaker's app...
  • Skip
    This novel follows the story lines of two young girls, Nour and Rawiya. Nour, raised in present day New York, moves back to Syria with her mother and two sisters, after the death of her father. However, their home in the city of Hom is bombed and they are forced to flee their home as refugees, along with a neighbor. About eight hundred years earlier, Rawiya pretends to be a boy so she can become a prominent mapmaker's apprentice. Their team sets ...
  • Stephanie
    Thanks to Touchstone for sending me a copy to review!This novel follows the story lines of two girls, Nour and Rawiya. Nour grew up in present day New York, but after the death of her father her family returned to Syria. Before long, they must flee their home as refugees. Eight hundred years earlier, Rawiya pretends to be a boy so she can be a prominent mapmaker's apprentice. Both girls set off on journeys, each mirroring the other to draw out th...
  • Krissy
    I really struggled with this one. It just didn't click with me. Too slow.
  • Nina-Tala (JustAddAWord) Shannak
    This is such a lovely, important book. And it’s quite different from my usual reads. It’s not YA, for example (although I can confidently say that there are many aspects that could appeal to a YA audience, so kudos on the crossover appeal), and feels like a memoir even though it isn’t one. THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS is a novel that alternated between events in 2011 Syria, told through 11/12 year old Nour, and historical, fantastical events n...
  • Tara Lynn
    A gorgeous, smart novel that follows 12-year-old Nour through a harrowing journey to find safety after her city is bombed during the Syrian Civil War. I flagged many amazing passages and insightful sentences. Too many to mention. I encourage everyone to read this book to understand the plight of the refugee. Challenge yourself with this important work.
  • Megan C.
    Thanks so much to Touchstone Books for providing me a copy of this novel for review. GO GET THIS BOOK NOW. I don't often say that. But I am saying it now, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I was so nervous to read this one - it was my most anticipated book this summer and I was terrified it wouldn't live up to the hype....but it completely delivered and I could not be more happy with it!! I just finished it last night, and I am still so ...
  • Angel ✨
    ➳Full review now posted.(This review can also be found on my blog!) “The land where your parents were born will always be in you. Words survive. Borders are nothing to words and blood.” 🌙 🧕—Muslim & Arab Reading Month #1 (this book features Arabs as well as hijabi women)[5/5] Trigger warning: attempted rape, violence, death.Did I finally, finally find the book that seemed to speak to me, rather than just narrate a story?Why yes....
  • Lynn
    A sweeping look at the Muslim world from Syria around the Mediterranean to Algeria. Two harrowing journeys: In one, a group of mapmakers mount camels to plot the geography of the known world, battling warlords, kings and the fantastic mythical beast Roc; 800 years later, a mother, who draws maps for a living [every map is, after all, a story] with three daughters, Nour, Huda and Zahra, moves from New York City to Homs, in Syria, as the mother wan...
  • KC
    This debut novel takes readers on two journeys some 800 years apart. It is 2011 and after the death of her father, 12 yr old Nour and her family travel from NYC back to Syria to be closer to family. Her mother, a cartographer, hopes that the move will be comforting to them all, but soon after among the protests and bombings, their house is destroyed and while one sister is injured they find themselves needing to flee. 800 years prior, 16 yr old R...
  • Mary
    4.5 stars. “What are the most important places on a map?” “The places you’ve never been.” This stunningly written, heartbreakingly beautiful (but ultimately, hopeful) story is a rich, multilayered + sweeping saga, connecting two incredible heroines across the better part of nearly a millennia. This is not a story to gulp down quickly– it requires attention and connection, a full experiencing of both the horrific tragedy within its pag...
  • Lilisa
    I could have listened and listened - I didn’t want this book to end. Straddling two timelines, The Map of Salt and Stars is about two young girls, both disguised as boys across two timelines. In New York, Nour, her two sisters and mother (a map maker or cartographer) return to Homs, Syria to be with family after her father dies of cancer. But soon life becomes unbearable as Homs experiences bombing and war and their home is destroyed. Forced to...