AUTHOR: Samira Ahmed
CATEGORY/AUDIENCE: Young Adult
RELEASE: March 19, 2019
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown
LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book— all opinions are my own.
In a near-future United States, Layla and her family, along with many other Muslim Americans, are forced into an internment camp. With new friends, her boyfriend David on the outside, and an unlikely ally, Layla begins to lead a resistance to take back freedom for herself and the others in the camp.
Samira Ahmed’s sophomore novel is even more powerful than her 2018 debut, Love, Hate, and Other Filters, and her writing has seen tremendous growth. Internment is a hauntingly intense story of resistance, community, and identity. Layla is a normal, relatable teen who must ask herself what kind of person she wants to be and how far she will go to fight for her community. This novel deals with Islamophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and racism, and touches on homophobia & antisemitism; there are scenes of violence, brutality, and death. But it’s also about love, friendship, family, poetry, and hope.
Internment presents a nuanced discussion on allyship, as well as intersectionality. Layla realizes that her experience is very different from that of a Muslim who is Black, Latinx, queer, or a woman who wears a hijab. Layla learns to be an ally to people whose oppression looks different from her own. David is Jewish and this shared experience of religious oppression does contribute to the connection between them. Samira Ahmed presents different examples allyship as something active that requires learning & listening.
Internment is perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, Ask Me No Questions, Saints & Misfits, and Out of Darkness. Much of the things in Internment have happened in the US before, and it’s not totally impossible for them to happen again. Although the president in this novel is never named, Layla’s world is clearly not far after today. Her story is a call to action and a reminder that silence is violence. Internment is one of the most important books of the year, and it needs to be in every single library.
Look for Internment on March 19!