This story was one that I think was important to write, set in a terrifying near-future, with many parallels to our current political climate. I can see many of my students really getting into this book.
I recommend that everyone stop what they’re doing and read this immediately.
Seems quite plausible giving the current events. I really hope this does not become reality. People from Muslim countries do not deserve the hate that they get all because of a few bigots decided to hurt other people.
This is a whirlwind read--in a good and less good way. It's a quick read and charges along, but that pace also made time hard to grasp in the setting and didn't quite give some of the emotional moments a chance to breathe. Chilling, given our political climate in the US, but ultimately hopeful as well. I liked seeing the range of antagonistic forces, from comic book level Villain in the Director to more insidious like the minders or other prisoners. Also appreciated the insights given into how/why someone would make those choices while not condoning it.
Though the Japanese American concentration camps are referenced, there's something about it that feels off to me. Maybe because that's real and quite recent history, but it's almost like there's this implication (though I'll note that it is never said) that the J-As should've fought back the way the characters in this book do. I don't know, but there's something about the representation that is still sticking for me.
This was quite the timely read given what's currently going on at the borders of Mexico. In this fictional account, set "15 minutes in the future", Layla and her parents are taken to an internment camp in the middle of a dessert. After the president declared all Muslims to be "enemies of America", he then had them rounded up and put in camps. But Layla and her new friends aren't going down without a fight. They secretly come up with several resistance plans in order to gain back their freedom.
I thought this book was well done, and given that it was fictional, it doesn’t take the reader long to realize that we could easily end up in this exact scenario TODAY if people continue to sit back and be silent. I believe everyone - teens and adults - should read this book to motivate us to use our voices while we still have them. Also, to remind us those of us with some privilege owe it to our friends and fellow countrymen to use our voices the loudest.
thought it had moments of real, powerful strength, certain events towards the end of the book brought down the rating.
weirdly enough, the trump-era setting of this book is one of its weaknesses. although trump has been blatantly islamophobic, his presidency is in no way the first to incite anti-muslim violence and discriminatory (im)migration policies. in fact, the events of this book seems even more plausible in the bush era when being islamophobic was "acceptable" and a key part of the "war on terror", and detentions were already a reality.
by setting it in an alternate timeline of the real world in trump's america, it ends up erasing reality in a way that confused me. for a book that's supposed to have been set in our world, the world-building was pretty weak. i have nothing against "issue books" - in fact, i think they're necessary when they're talking about real issues - but it's slightly odd that ahmed chose to write about a hypothetical scenario when muslims are already facing detention and having their rights denied under this presidency. plus, islamophobia is a transnational issue - the recent attack in new zealand proves that. the narrow trump's america-focused remit of this book really limited its scope for me, especially when so much context was left out.
islamophobia is scarily real in our own timeline. but the resilience of muslims in the book is what resonated with me most; thankfully, i know from real life muslim activists that this isn't fictional either. the good, informative author's note at the end was my main takeaway from the novel.
ultimately, as a(n older?) muslim, i wasn't especially shocked by this book as other readers have been because it wasn't as eye-opening for me as it may have been for others. as interesting as the concept is, it unfortunately won't be one of my favourite reads of the year.
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