One of the last books I read for 2018 was Samira Ahmed’s Internment. I knew this story would be sad, but I can’t emphasize enough the beauty and hope that the books gives you as well as be heartbreaking. And all aspects are fantastically done.
Internment is a novel that is about a young teen named Layla who is living in a future where there is not just a muslim ban, but internment camps for people who are muslim living in America. Layla and her parents are one night taken to one and Layla decides to fight back not just for her family, but for everyone in and out of the camp.
First of this book is sad and heartbreaking. Not just due to the subject matter, but the experiences you see from the view of a teen. The different events and horrific things she sees in the camp are sadly somewhat based in US & German history in regards to internment and concentration camps. Which does make me really admire Ahmed’s research and how she featured past events in history into this book. There is a sad beauty though is tragedy and I think the writing of this book really showcases that. When certain scenes in this book showed the violence, death, and terrible actions that were being done to people in the camp you almost wanted to turn away or skim the pages. But the important lesson here is that you can’t and should not ignore it because it is something that could happen and acknowledging that is the first step to helping fix the problem (also this is not directed at people who may not want to read the subject matter due to mental health and if that is the case there is no shame in putting a book down or skimming pages if you need to as long as you can acknowledge the actions of the US in the book are not good to say the least).
Something else I enjoyed about the book was the education it gives. Now I know that authors and fiction are not always in charge of educating other people about cultures or why somethings is or is not racist, but I really do admire Ahmed’s interrelation of past and presents events in history to create this world and also her incorporation of muslim cultures and traditions in those cultures being impacted by the future laws (as well as daily life in general). I even learned something that I never knew about regarding concentration camps and how they tricked certain government agencies into thinking that everything going on in them was perfectly legal. I think that Ahmed did amazing in bringing this story to life and mixing in fiction and nonfiction to create a story about a terrible future that I really hope we avoid.
The final reason I really loved this story is because it leaves people with hope. With so much ongoing tragedy and terror that we see in the world, it is always nice to leave people with a message of hope and triumph. While I have read books that ended sadly (those are important too of course), I really love when a book shows readers that they can make a difference and that an even bleaker future can be avoided and doesn’t have to be inevitable. I think it is also important to show teen readers that they can make a difference. Layla is a fantastic character who works as hard as she can and even looks death in the eyes at one point just to fight for what she believes in. She is strong willed, brave, and is a great role model for every reader of this book. Without giving too much away I did enjoy the ending giving people hope for the future rather than having it be as bleak as the beginning of the story (story wise not writing wise).
I feel like there is so many positives I could list for this story and how appreciative I am of all the various aspects incorporated into it. It shows how the future can change in a second and we have to do what we can to stop a future like this from happening (though some may argue it already has). I really enjoyed this book and can’t recommend it enough. I finished it in 1 day and am glad that one of the last books I read for 2018 was this one. I usually take he time to go into what I disliked about the book and honestly besides a few times I felt it was too text heavy when it should have been more dialouge heavy, I really can’t think of much to say in terms of dislikes regarding this story & that’s is no reason to not read this book. It’s honestly just a small nitpick of mine if I really needed to say a negative.
The only thing left I can say is that if you want to read a well written, fantastic, heartbreaking, beautiful, and almost perfect story please pick up Interment in March when it is released.
4 out of 5 Stars
**** out of *****
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Until next time dear readers.
I received an ARC of this book from NOVL and Little Brown as part of the Book Squad in exchange for an honest review.