Tuesday, 22 May 2018
A Review of I am Thunder
Please read reviews from Muslims about this book, too. I can only speak for myself and within the confines of my own experience. However, this is exactly what I like from a YA book.
Even though I hate to do this, I must compare this book to Love, Hate and Other Filters, another book focusing strongly on Islamophobia and terrorism that came out this year. While Love, Hate and Other Filters stays away from (un)Islamic extremism, this book attacks it with a sledgehammer. And I think we need both approaches. We need to see how Muslims are affected when the attacker isn't Muslim, and we need to see how terrorism affects their communities, too.
So, when I said that this is what I like in a YA book, I mean that because it shows what you should do, rather than a what not to do. People (and that includes everyone, because terrorism isn't only a Muslim concern) need to know what they should do if they have information relating to any sort of attack. Going to the police is one way, and the book also mentions an anonymous hotline, which I mention because I know going to the police isn't safe for everyone. Spoiler: We see Muzna going to the police with her information. /spoiler
I also liked Muzna's character. She's awkward and quiet and scared, with most of the book showing her that she does have a voice which can be used to change things. She absolutely shows that teenagers can change the world. She wants to write, she wants to write her story and stories about people like her. And she also explores her faith during this book. She had been raised less religiously than many, but hanging out with Arif and Jamal is leading to more pressure on her to conform to their idea of her faith. Spoiler: she finds a path of Islam in the end that she likes and that works for her. /spoiler
Another thing I loved was Muzna's struggle with facial hair. This is the first YA book that I've seen actually mention this! This is what I needed - you're not the only one, it is normal but it can be a sign of things so it's best to get it checked at the GPs and maybe they can help. I've written about my struggles with chin hair here, and despite going through an expensive and painful procedure, it seems to be coming back. I actually kind of want to just hold be head up and be all "oh, so what?"
One thing, though - you can tell this book was written by a teacher. One of the coolest adults in the book is a teacher, and there's a lot of attention to detail about the school. One of these was the mention of SIMs, which I literally had to send to my best friend going "hey, remember this?" because it was what our school used.
I would recommend this to people who want to know more about the experiences of Muslims in Britain.