Hello Readers & Writers,
Happy 2019! I hope the New Year turns out to be a great one.
I’m back on the blog with a review of Internment by Samira Ahmed due out March 2019 from Little Brown Books. I was sent an ARC from Novl in exchange for my honest feedback. As always, there will be no spoilers.
Set in a near-distant future, Muslims American citizens have had their rights stripped away and are being put into internment camps. We follow Layla and her family as they are taken in the middle of the night and escorted to what will be their new “home” indefinitely. While trapped inside the camp, Layla comes face to face with those in power as she and her friends fight for freedom.
This was a hard book to read and I think it will be for many as it outlines how racism and fear are tactics used by the government in order to produce a certain outcome. By controlling widespread media, creating propaganda, and enacting laws against Muslims, we follow Layla through a world she does not recognize anymore, a world against her and her family. Ahmed makes the reader understand from the very beginning how dangerous things are. We are introduced to the direct consequences of hate rhetoric and how it can affect others.
Layla’s narrative is a powerful one and never once does Ahmed soften her words. There are parallels to what happened during World War II and tactics used in campaign elections. While for some, this may be seen as blowing things out of proportion, Ahmed’s writing says otherwise. It tells the reader to examine their complacency, examine their privilege, and speak up when something happening around them is wrong. By not taking action, there is always the risk of the worst case scenario.
While, I thought there could have been a bit more clarification and motivation for some characters – particularly the soldiers that wound up helping Layla and her friends – the overall message of the novel is too important to ignore. Internment, through its chilling scenes, is a necessary read, especially for teens and young adults wondering if their voice matters. This book states it does and it can do more than you imagine.
This gets 4/5 stars for me.