This is another novel nominated for the White Pine awards for 2011.
Allan Stratton has written several other Young Adult novels -- Chanda's Secret and Chanda's Wars being his most recent.
Set in New York, the protagonist is a young American of Iranian descent who is caught between cultures. Although he was born in the US, his parents are strict Muslims who strongly encourage Sami to eat Halal food and pray five times daily. This causes him to feel alone until a new neighbour moves in and accepts him without prejudice. His father, Arman, is mistrustful and protective and closely scrutinizes their teenage activities. In order to discourage this friendship, his father enrolls him at a private school where he is the target of bigotry and bullying.
One weekend, his father, a high level scientist dealing with biological material, travels to Toronto and attends a convention. Shortly after his return, the FBI bust into his house, rip it apart, interrogate Sami and his mother and arrest and imprison Arman. He is accused of being the American link to the Brotherhood of Martyrs, an alleged terrorist cell based in Toronto.
This is a novel which is topical and accessible. The plot is fast-paced, the language accessible and the themes relevant and of interest to young Canadians.