I loved Samira Ahmed's debut novel Love, Hate & Other Filters (2018). So, naturally, I was excited to hear she had penned a new book. Once I learned about the subject matter, I was still eager to read it, but I don't want to use the word excited anymore. That implies enthusiasm. How can I be enthusiastic about a future, even fictional, that is filled with such hate? But it's an important book. Watch Samira talk about it. Then read it. Please.
Internment (March 19, 2019)
Layla was a regular American teenager until the new Islamophobic president enacted Exclusion Laws. Muslims are being rounded up, their books burned, and their bodies encoded with identification numbers. Neighbors are divided, and the government is going after resisters. Layla and her family are interned in the California desert along with thousands of other Muslim Americans, but she refuses to accept the circumstances of her detention, plotting to take down the system. She quickly learns that resistance is no joke: Two hijabi girls are beaten and dragged away screaming after standing up to the camp director. There are rumors of people being sent to black-op sites. Some guards seem sympathetic, but can they be trusted? Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America, Ahmed’s (Love, Hate & Other Filters, 2018) magnetic, gripping narrative, written in a deeply humane and authentic tone, is attentive to the richness and complexity of the social ills at the heart of the book. Layla grows in consciousness as she begins to understand her struggle not as an individual accident of fate, but as part of an experience of oppression she shares with millions. This work asks the question many are too afraid to confront: What will happen if xenophobia and racism are allowed to fester and grow unabated? [from Kirkus Reviews]
Want to learn even more about the book? Read a conversation with both Samira Ahmed and Monica Hesse. Hesse's new book, The War Outside, centers around family internment camps in the United States during WWII. And, since I know you'll be wondering, yes . . . it is definitely on my to-read list.