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PW #353: Young Adult Thriller #ownvoices Muslim: THE SILENT SEA

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Kip Wilson

Mentee Name: Aishah Dawood


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Thriller #ownvoices Muslim

Word Count: 68,000


Two young Muslim women. Two battles for survival. One epic escape.

When sixteen-year-old Nayla, kidnapped by sex traffickers in Istanbul, and seventeen-year-old Husna, picked up by pirates while fleeing war-torn Syria, cross paths on the Mediterranean, their only hope for survival is each other. AN UNTAMED STATE meets REFUGEE.


The day started slowly in Istanbul. With a great yawn, the city chased away the stupor with a glass of Turkish coffee. The early-bird tourists strolled lazily in Sultanahmet Square, enjoying the quiet that would soon dissipate. Street vendors were setting up and the delicious aroma of the fresh round shaped bread, simit, tickled the nose.

Nayla Salim stood at the edge of the Bosphorus Strait and breathed in the salty air. Today was a perfect day to escape to Baba’s boat and read until she had to go to school. The sun climbed higher in the clear sky, lighting up the sprawling buildings, its rays glinting off the colorful minarets. Down the dock, Nayla’s father’s boat bobbed gently in the pristine blue water, the last in a row of boats that catered to tourists.

A family of three passed by, the teenage daughter trailing behind her parents, her nose in the pages of a brand-new travel guide.

“Private Bosphorus cruise!” Emir called out to them from his boat moored next to Nayla’s father’s. He stepped forward.

Two men blocked his way. “You, is that your boat?” one of the men asked in Turkish. He pointed to the modest cuddy boat very much like Baba’s.

Emir nodded. Like Baba, he prized his boat—his only means of income—more than anything.

“We want your boat. We bring it back.”

Nayla slipped past them and onto her father’s boat. But instead of ducking inside, she stayed on deck to listen.


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