Ahmed (Love, Hate & Other Filters) sets her chilling novel in the very near future: two-and-a-half years after an election that brought about a Muslim ban, Exclusion laws, and the internment of Muslims in a disturbing echo of the Japanese internments of the 1940s. Layla Amin, the rebellious 17-year-old Muslim narrator, is enraged by the changes that her small liberal California community accepts: curfews, book burnings, required viewing of the U.S. president’s weekly National Security Address. On a personal level, she was suspended from school for kissing her non-Muslim boyfriend in public, and her poet-professor father has lost his job. Still, her family’s abrupt nighttime “relocation” to a camp—during which each arrival is branded withultraviolet identification encoding—is a shock. While her parents shrink into compliance, Layla quickly makes friends and allies who band together to bring public attention to internees’ treatment, close down the camps, and put an end to the country’s fascism and Islamophobia. Ahmed keeps the tension mounting as Layla faces increasingly violent consequences for her actions; the teenagers’ relationships are depicted authentically, and their strength and resistance are inspiring. An unsettling and important book for our times. Ages 12–up. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary Agency. (Mar.)
*Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America, Ahmed's 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.Kirkus, starred review
*"...a poignant, necessary story that paints a very real, very frank picture of hatred and ignorance, while also giving readers and marginalized individuals hope."Booklist, starred review
*"An unsettling and important book for our times."Publishers Weekly, starred review
*"By the end of the first two pages of this title the reader will be breathless with the anticipation and excitement of what's to come."School Library Connection, starred review
*"...Sensitive and stirring. For all collections."School Library Journal, starred review
"A riveting and cautionary tale. Internment urges us to speak up and speak out, to ask questions and demand answers, and when those answers prove unsatisfactory, to resist." Stacey Lee, award-winning author of Outrun the Moon
"Internment is a visceral, essential book, both horrifying and hopeful. Ahmed deserves a spot on every book shelf in America." Kiersten White, New York Times Bestselling author of And I Darken and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
"A testament to what girls are capable of when they are overlooked, Internment is a masterwork of dignity and grit."E.K. Johnston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Exit, Pursued by a Bear
"Internment is a scathing indictment of our current political times. Ahmed has gifted us Layla, a courageous young revolutionary who fights against all boundaries of hate and ignorance. A must read for activists who continue to push back against the big What-Ifs."National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street and Pride
"A powerful and poignant exploration of a nightmare made real. It's a testament to Ahmed's writing then, that the heart of the story is one of hope. Read INTERNMENT. Raise a fist."David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Moquitoland and Kids of Appetite
"Terrifying, inspiring, heart-pounding, and incredibly timely. With an ultimately hopeful voice, Samira Ahmed shows how one person and small acts of bravery can spark a flame of resistance and inspire others to bring change."Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana, Frederick, MD
"Internment builds a great case for empathy on all sides and for fighting history repeating itself."Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS
"Thank you to Samira Ahmed for giving us Layla, the Strong and Independent Female Character that we are always promised, but never actually get."Emily Knosher, Read It Again Bookstore, Monticello, NY
"A riveting, ferocious read that will keep you up at night, a story about complicity and cowardice, strength, vulnerability, and hope."Eugenia Vela, BookPeople, Austin, TX
"A necessary read for all young people, now more than ever."Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington DC
Gr 8 Up—"Exclusion laws" imposed by an Islamophobic president have upended the lives of Muslims across the United States, including Layla's. Removed from school for her own good by her parents, Layla circumvents state-imposed curfews to see her boyfriend, David, who is Jewish. When she and her family and other Muslims are rounded up by the authorities and forced to live in an internment camp in the California desert, Layla learns what it means to survive—and to fight. This cautionary tale for our times draws parallels between the situation Muslim Americans face today and the horrors of the Japanese American internment.
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?
A reminder that even in a world filled with divisions and right-wing ideology, young people will rise up and demand equality for all. (Realistic fiction. 13-18)