The Servant (Hardcover)

By Fatima Sharafeddine

Groundwood Books, 9781554983070, 157pp.

Publication Date: April 30, 2013



Faten's happy life in her village comes to an abrupt end when her father arranges for her to work as a maid for a wealthy Beirut family with two spoiled daughters. What does a bright, ambitious 17-year-old do when she is suddenly deprived of her friends, family, education, and freedom? Enlisting the help of Marwan, the mysterious, wealthy young man who lives in the next apartment building, Faten finally figures out how to pursue her studies in secret. Even against the uncertain backdrop of the civil war, their romance develops, as Marwan and Faten conspire to exchange notes and meet at an idyllic seaside cafe. But in Lebanese society the differences in religion, class, and wealth are stacked against them, and their parents have very different ideas about what their futures should be. An engaging and lucidly written coming-of-age novel.

About the Author

Fatima Sharafeddine was born in Beirut and spent her early childhood in Sierra Leone. Her family returned to Lebanon when she was still a child, and she spent fifteen years living through the Lebanese civil war, moving from city to city, school to school. After receiving a B.A. in Early Childhood Education, she moved to the United States to pursue her graduate studies. She earned a Masters degree in education and another in Arabic literature. She has taught preschool in Houston, Texas, and Arabic language and culture classes at Rice University. She now divides her time between Beirut and Brussels, where she writes and translates full time. Fatima is an active member of the Lebanese section of IBBY (LBBY). She has written more than eighty books for young children. The Maid is her first work for young adults.She has twice been nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and she has won a number of awards and honors in the Arab region. She divides her time between Beirut and Brussels."

Praise For The Servant

Selected for the American Library Associations's Amelia Bloomer Project List

"[Faten’s story] will draw in young readers preoccupied with society, challenging parents and their own fears." — New York Times

"Fans of literary and historical fiction will be drawn to this rich portrayal of the challenges faced and opportunities forged by brave young women in patriarchal, war-torn Lebanon." — Kirkus Reviews

"Shortly after he enters his building, the young man appears in his apartment. Faten watches his movements from the corner of the little window in her room. He appears here. Disappears. Reappears there. He plays the piano sometimes, and Faten watches. Her heart jumps at every glimpse she gets of him."
from the book