I am Malaak Abed Atieh, and this bird is Abdo. I live in Abdo's eyes. I fly high, high above Gaza City. Nothing stops me, not the concrete and razor wire, not the guns, not the soldiers. I stare at them with my hard black Abdo eyes, and they do not shoot me. I am hidden.
The year is 1988 in Gaza City, and it has been a month since eleven-year-old Malaak's beloved father left to look for work in Israel, only to disappear. Every day Malaak climbs up to the roof and waits for him, imagining that she can fly to the prison cell where she is sure he waits, too.
She speaks little to anyone, preferring to commune with the loyal little bird she has tamed. But her twelve-year-old brother, Hamid, has a different way of coping. He feels only anger, stoked by militant extremists who preach violence as the only way to change their fate. Malaak's mother and sister beg the boy to stay away from harm, but now Malaak lives in fear that she may lose her only brother as well.
What will it take for her to find her voice -- and the strength to move beyond the violence that surrounds her?