Nadira and her family are illegal aliens, fleeing to the Canadian border — running from the country they thought was their home. For years since emigrating from Bangladesh, they have lived on expired visas in New York City, hoping they could someday realize their dream of becoming legal citizens of the United States. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly, being Muslim means being dangerous, a suspected terrorist. And when Nadira's father is arrested and detained at the border, Nadira and her older sister, Aisha, are sent back to Queens and told to carry on, as if everything is the same.
But of course nothing is the same. Nadira and Aisha live in fear they'll have to return to a Bangladesh they hardly know. Aisha, always the responsible one, falls apart. It's up to Nadira to find a way to bring her family back together again.
Critically acclaimed author Marina Budhos has given us a searing portrait of contemporary America in the days of terrorism, orange alerts, and the Patriot Act, and a moving and important story about something most people take for granted — citizenship and acceptance in their country.