17 year old Layla Amin has been watching her world slowly dissolve for a while. As a Muslim-American, her freedoms are being removed systematically by new government leaders who believe that she and other Muslims are dangerous. When her family is removed from their home and taken to an internment camp, just miles away from the one to which Japanese Americans were assigned during World War II, the experience is surreal. She cannot believe that her situation is permanent or real. But when people are hurt before her very eyes and begin disappearing from the camp under cover of darkness, the harsh reality of her new life sets in. She knows she must do something to stand up for her family and her new friends at the internment camp, but what can a teenager trapped in a restrictive facility do to defend her rights?
Why It's Worth Reading:
This is dystopian fiction at its most terrifying, just on the edge of today's trending topics. Ahmed's imagining of another group of Americans being placed in internment camps does a convincing (and scary) job of speculating at the steady progression of events that could lead to such a drastic action. Layla is a fascinating blend of typical teenager, who resents the loss of creature comforts and privileges previously taken for granted, and powerful activist, who cannot fathom the complicit acceptance exhibited by many and willingly puts herself in danger for the greater good. This book is a terrific conversation piece, intersecting perfectly with current events, as well as the study of history, psychology, sociology or civics. Read this book to root for Layla and to consider the cost of complacency in the face of fear and hatred.
Author: Samira Ahmed
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date: March 19, 2019
Awards/Accolades: 5 starred reviews already
Does the NHS Library Own a Copy?: On order - coming soon!