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On the day the Nazis march down the rue de Belleville, fourteen-year-old Maral Pegorian is living with her family in Paris, where, like many other Armenians who survived the genocide in their homeland, her parents have come to build a new life. The adults immediately set about gathering food and provisions, bracing for the deprivation they know all too well but Maral, her brother Missak, and their close friends Zaven and Barkev are spurred to action of another sort, finding secret and not-so-secret ways to resist their oppressors. When Zaven and Barkev flee to avoid conscription, Maral finally realizes that the Occupation is not simply a temporary outrage to be endured and when only one brother returns after many fraught months, the contours of Maral's world are changed irrevocably.