The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi is a tale of forbidden love in Afghanistan. Women aren't allowed to speak with men who aren't part of their family. It will bring dishonor to their family and clan. But Fatima and Sami were friends as children. And when he comes back to the village after years away, it seemed only natural they would still want to be friends.
Their perfectly innocent friendship upsets many people though. Not just because they aren't related, but because they are from different clans and tribes. Both their families are angered and Fatima and Sami are faced with nothing but harsh options.
The Secret Sky is told in three voices: Fatima, Sami and Sami's cousin Rashid--a devout boy who thinks he is doing the right thing by reporting their meetings to family and "religious" leaders.
Abawi intricately weaves in differing Afgani voices--the traditional, the young and the old who had hoped for change. Also the discrepancies between Islam and the Taliban and men who pretend to be either are brought to the foreground. She presents a scary world, where it is hard to know who to trust and where innocents must suffer for the actions and beliefs of others.
This is a powerful book. Four stars.
***ARC received from publisher through NetGalley.