Cover Image: Sparks Like Stars

Sparks Like Stars

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Member Reviews

What a beautiful story!  

Sitara is only 10 years old when she’s witnesses her family being slaughtered during a coup in 1970’s Afghanistan.  She finds herself rescued by a guard, hidden by his family, handed over to an American woman working in Kabul,, and smuggled out the country.   Her story is incredible.  The characters are complex and sympathetic.  This is not a book I would have normally picked, but I am so glad that I did.  

Thank you to Book Club Girls. Nadia Hashimi, NetGalley and William Morrow for the opportunity to review this book.
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An Afghan American woman returns to Kabul to learn the truth about her family and the tragedy that destroyed their lives in this brilliant and compelling novel.⁣
The life of Sitara had me totally engrossed to her story, wanting to know more.  I loved stepping in to a bit of Afghanistan’s history and the streets of Kabul.  Even though I was flipping pages, there were a few parts that were slow for me. Overall, I enjoyed this one. ⁣
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• Genre tags: historical fiction, literary fiction, Afghanistan ⁣
• Rating: 4.25 ✨
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This was such a beautifully written book. I found myself happily lost in the prose several times. I also think that this is such an interesting time period to cover and a perspective that isn't done by others. I think that it is going to appeal to readers who aren't necessarily big historical fiction fans, and I already have several friends that fall in that category that I plan to recommend this to. I'm so glad this book exists.
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I started reading this on a plane ride….very quick to get into….finished within a few days.Whilst being an easy read with some interesting characters, I found the story and ending predictable.
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Beautifully written--I felt like I learned so much about Afghan culture and history and it mattered to get to learn it through the eyes and heart of this young girl who loves it but is also harmed by what it becomes. Reading this was a rich journey.
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Let’s be honest, as an American our understanding of Afghanistan is pretty limited. What Sparks Like Stars does is humanizes the people and their experiences through one young girls horrific ordeal. 

It is a story of significant loss, survival, love, hope and never giving up. I don’t think you ever have closure from grief but can you learn how to incorporate it into your life? These are the things that Ms. Hashimi explores.
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Unfortunately, for me, I just couldn't get into this book. I wanted to because the writing style was so wonderful, but this book didn't hook me.

Reviewer Note: During 2020 and the beginning of 2021, I found it difficult to get into many books. I don't know if it was my headspace from the pandemic, but there were a number of books I had to set aside.
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I really enjoyed this book.This story centers around a young girl and her family during a time of upheaval in Afghanistan and it's aftermath.It is a timely story and also gave me a better feel for the country and its history.I thought it was well-written and kept my interest the whole time I was reading it.Definitely would recommend it!
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Set in 1970s Afghanistan and present-day New York, this novel features a young girl who was present at the 1978 military coup in Kabul. Much of what we learn about Afghan history today features more recent years, so it was interesting to learn about this period of the country's history. Would recommend to historical fiction fans.
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Amazing book! I would go so far as to say it was one of my favorite books of 2021!
The plight of Sitara, the daughter of an Afghan Presidential aide whose family is murdered in a communist coup, is so remarkably written.  The history of Afghanistan is discussed and provides such insight into the country's background.  The characters come alive through the author's deft writing skills.
The raw emotion, self-discovery and understanding of circumstances beyond one's control are right there.  Great book!
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Sparks Like Stars // Nadia Hashimi

I don't often read historical fiction anymore because I burned myself out a little on it in the past but I am so glad I gave this one a chance. What a story Hashimi has put together! I'll be honest: I don't really know anything about the events she has based this book on or Afghanistan itself. But what an incredible book with great descriptions that made me feel like she set me right down into the middle of the action! The flashbacks to her childhood, the current events that led her to where is now, and the relationships with between both her birth parents and her mom now weave together such a compelling story. I did think that scenes about the relationship with her partner felt a little choppy here and there and was more to prove a point rather than to tell us more about her life and character. It could've been done a little more smoothly. But overall, I am really glad I picked up this book.

Whether you usually read historical fiction and want to dip your toes into memoirs or the exact opposite, this would be a great start into either genre. She clearly states that this is fiction, not a memoir, but the feeling of the narration sometimes makes you forget that, which is why I think this could be a good intro into memoirs for someone to see how story-telling can help you learn so much about a person and culture in this medium. I honestly forgot that this was supposed to be fiction multiple times. If you can, choose the audiobook. I'm so glad it was available at my library because that added a whole other layer of enjoyment for me.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 
Thank you to BCG for the ARC. We are thrilled to announce that our next Book Club Girl Early Read is Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi. If it wasn't for BCG I wouldn't have been approved to read this beautifully written story. Such a captivating story. Highly recommend
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This book is so beautifully written -- so sad, yet hopeful at the same time.  Especially poignant given what's going on in Afghanistan right now.  Do not miss this book.  Read with your book group and have a great discussion.
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1970s Afghanistan was led by a progressive president. It was a place where women had opportunities for education and careers. American diplomatic posts to Afghanistan were coveted. Foreigners traveled to and through Afghanistan regularly.

Unfortunately, the tentacles of the Cold War changed the future of Afghanistan and in 1978 President Daoud was overthrown in a coup at his palace in Kabul.

The main character in Sparks Like Stars, Sitara Zamini, survives as a witness of the coup. For her safety a palace guard leaves Sitara with an American diplomat who helps her to escape Afghanistan .

Thirty years later, in the United States, Sitara, now a doctor and going by the name Aryana Shepherd, comes face to face with the palace guard that helped her as a child. She is forced to face that dreaded night in 1978.

Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow Books for the opportunity to read this amazing book in exchange for an honest review.
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Sparks Like Stars, like many historical fiction books, has a dual timeline, and as is often the case for me, I found the older timeline more appealing. The first part of the book is set in Afghanistan in the 1970s, specifically 1978, when Sitara, the main character, has her life is turned upside down by a coup, one year before the Soviet invasion. The second part of the book takes place 30 years later, in 2008 in New York City and Kabul. Given what we know about what went on and IS CURRENTLY GOING ON in Afghanistan since 1978, the book has an overall sadness to it, for the lost world Sitara remembers.

We get a glimpse of what life was like (at least for the people who were well connected) in Afghanistan before everything changed. The pace of the story is leisurely, although the first part is pretty action-packed. I did hard a hard time connecting with the adult version of the main character, even though I admired her. I loved the character of Tilly, a total free-spirit emblematic of many people in the 1970s.

Recommended!

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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Sitara lives in Kabul in 1978 and her father is an important political leader. During a brutal coup, only ten-year-old Sitara survives as the rest of her family is murdered. While the government is under siege, she’s spirited away to live undercover in the United States.

By 2008 she’s become a successful surgeon known by the name Aryana Shepard. Her adoptive mother has provided her a wonderful life, but memories of the murder of her family haunt her. When she encounters a man who may have played a key role in the demise of her family, she becomes determined to go back to Afghanistan and find out the truth of who’s responsible and where the bodies are buried.

Sitara/Aryana is adept at compartmentalizing her feelings, a tactic that she needs as a surgeon. But her desperate need to get answers trumps her rational approach to life. The trip to Afghanistan brings the world she escaped back to her in a real way, and she is determined to follow any lead that might provide answers. 

The audio version is beautifully read and the narrator’s voice adds flavor to the story. Like her other books, Hashimi focuses on surviving a harsh environment and seeking answers. She bridges the two worlds of America and Afghanistan through the central character. Her fictional characters ring true and the book is engaging and helps fill in our understanding of a tumultuous time in Afghanistan’s history.
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This is the first of Nadia Hashimi’s books that I’ve read. She writes so beautifully and you cannot help but feel like you’re right next to the characters in the story. So much rich history was captured in this story and it breaks your heart what the people have gone though. This book is for those who love learning about history and women who fight the odds stacked against them.
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Beautiful and heart-wrenching. I was completely engrossed in the story and the beautiful writing. I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did and I’m so glad I took a chance with it. Can’t wait to read more by the author.
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So, historical fiction is quickly accelerating up the list to become a favorite genre of mine, and this story doesn’t disappoint. Stories set in the Middle East aren’t super common so this has a different feel to it. It starts out in the late ‘70’s, following 10 year old Sitara. Sitara’s father is a prominent advisor to the king, and Sitara lives a beautiful life where she commonly hangs out in the palace, and has access to the best of what Afghanistan has to offer. That all changes one night when a violent coup is carried out by the same military guards that have protected Sitara and her family as well as the king. In the ensuing chaos a lone guard gets Sitara out of the palace, and she ends up in the care of a US government worker and her mother. Knowing her presence in the country won’t be tolerated, they vow to get her to safety in the US. With a new identity, and new country, Sitara is able to flourish, but she is forever haunted by the memory of the family she never sees again. This a compelling page turner, that is beautifully written, both inspiring and heart breaking in the same breath. I was able to breeze right through it since it flows so well. Review posted to Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Litsy, and LibraryThing
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Sparks Like Stars is  the story of 10 year old Sitara an Afghan girl who loses her family during a coup in the Presidential Palace in Kabul in 1978.  I enjoyed learning more about Afghanistan, its culture and history as Sitara's story unfolded.   It is a story of resilience, family relationships and loss, survival guilt and hope.  I enjoyed Nadia Hashimi's writing style and look forward to reading more of her books!
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