The Cat I Never Named: Book summary and reviews of The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

The Cat I Never Named

A True Story of Love, War, and Survival

by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess X
The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
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Book Summary

It is 1992 and Bihac, Amra's hometown, is a multicultural city with Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. But when tensions escalate, the Serbs turn on their Bosnian neighbors.

The Serbs control the army, and now they have peaceful Bihac surrounded. Soon Amra and her family are dealing with starvation and the threat of brutal violence; school, friendships, and the attentions from a new boy have to take a back seat to finding food and the tragic fallout from rising bigotry and ethnic hatred. Through it all, a stray cat, Maci, serves as a guardian spirit to the entire family.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Sabic-El-Rayess' viewpoint as an adolescent girl juxtaposes her dreams of the future against fears of losing loved ones, rape camps, and starvation. The crude realities of war are animated by the combination of both graphic scenes of violence and intimate displays of affection and warmth. Unforgettable." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"An excellent discussion starter." - School Library Connection (starred review)

"Gripping...Sabic-El-Rayess's visual imagination is a slipstream. Amra's words have a subtle, relentless force, creating a world where life is a danger, a demand, and a warm, calico presence." - Foreword Reviews

This information about The Cat I Never Named shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Bill Brown

The Cat I Never Named
I am surprised a reader has not submitted a review of this book. It is very well written and poignantly presented. I don't even have a cat, but I can identify with the author's love of Maci.

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Author Information

Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

Amra Sabic-El-Rayess grew up in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. After surviving ethnic cleansing and more than 1100 days under the Serbs' military siege, she emigrated to the United States in 1996. By December 1999, she earned a BA in Economics from Brown University. Later, she obtained two Masters degrees and a Doctorate from Columbia University. Currently, she is a professor at Columbia University working on understanding how and why societies fall apart and what role education can play in rebuilding decimated countries. She has published extensively on education-related issues, and has lectured around the world to adult and adolescent audiences. In her students' feedback, Amra is consistently praised as one of the most inspiring professors they have encountered. She divides her time between Manhattan and Tuxedo Park with her husband and two daughters, ages 11 and 13.

Laura Sullivan is an author and seasoned collaborator of middle grade and young adult novels, including Under the Green Hill (Holt, 2010), Ladies in Waiting (HMH, 2012), and Love by the Morning Star (HMH, 2014). She collaborated with prolific producer and director Adam Shankman on Girl About Town (Atheneum, May, 2016), a Nick and Nora-styled mystery set in 1930s Hollywood, and the sequel. She also worked with YouTube star Joey Graceffa on the bestselling Children of Eden trilogy (Atria/Keywords). Her adult debut, Milady (Berkley) published in July 2019.

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