Layla Amin and her parents marked themselves as Muslim on the U.S. census, despite watching hatred against Muslims grow in the community and word around them.
Now, Layla and her family have been forced to leave their homes and live in an internment camp for Muslim-American citizens, under the rule of a harsh Director and his guard, all armed with guns.
Yet, with the help of friends inside the camp, a guard, and her boyfriend from the outside, Layla tries to lead a rebellion for freedom, fueled by hope.
Internment is not a perfect story. But it is so, so powerful.
Especially given recent events, books that fight Islamophobia are so important and I hope they will show future generations the consequences of perpetuating bigotry and hatred. I can only hope that Internment will shed light on the dangerous paths people–high profile and everyday–have taken in normalizing Islamophobia.
Because Islamophobia is not okay, even if it’s meant as a “joke.” Internment shows a dangerous future that may be shocking to some, but isn’t unimaginable to me.
I can’t say that this isn’t a possible future, especially if America and other countries fall further into an us vs. them narrative.
I know people will say that this book sounds “exaggerated” or “tries too hard,” but I personally disagree with the idea that Internment is overdoing it. Very strongly.
This book shows one future that could be very likely if we don’t speak out against it.
It’s scary. It’s so scary. I think people who find this as a caricature or as overblown need to consider that this is
- written for teenagers!
- drawn from real life, and can very well be true. I think people who think this is overblown need to take a step back and reconsider whether they understand the full extent of Islamophobia today. (tea: sipped)
Internment, in my opinion, is not supposed to be a book about pain. It’s not supposed to spend a lot of time on suffering, but rather focuses on rebellion. On fighting back. On giving hope.
It isn’t perfect. But I think it’s a very good start and that it can’t satisfy everyone.
I think anyone who reads this book is hoping for something different out of it. And I don’t think Internment will be able to please everyone. I personally was hoping for a less clean ending (weird, I know), but what Ahmed provided was different from that, but this didn’t make it bad.
Islamophobia and its potential to harm so many is such a huge topic, and I don’t think any book would be able to adequately cover every element of this specific brand of hate.
Ahmed still did a wonderful job of exploring the topic, and I really appreciated the nuance she added with the racism within Muslim communities (i.e. how black Muslims are treated differently from white Muslims or desi Muslims etc.).
Internment may not cover everything, and it definitely won’t satisfy everyone. But I think, ultimately, the courage Layla shows in starting a rebellion was extremely admirable, awe-inspiring, and powerful.
I think this is a wonderful book–for teens especially. It’s powerful and is clear in its message while still holding that subtext in between the lines.
(I also think that adults need to remember, when reviewing this book, that it’s for teens and that writing a book with an extreme level of graphicness and a less hopeful message ultimately will decrease Internment‘s power for its intended audience.)
So please read Internment. I find it moving and powerful, and I believe everyone needs to not only read this, but read this with the seriousness and consideration that it deserves.
My review did not do this book justice, but I hope it provided some insight into just how important I believe Internment is. It’s a story of girl who rises up against hatred, and is inspiring in every way.
Thank you so much to The NOVL for sending me an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review!