Written by: Samira Ahmed
“What a book. Phenomenal.”
In a near future, Layla Amin and her parents are forced to leave their home in the middle of the night, only to be put away in an internmentcamp for American muslims. A cruel principal dominates this camp, that has to set an example for future camps, which is why he would do everything in his power to make this camp to a succes. Layla, on the other hand, has other plans. Together with a diverse group of youths from inside the camp, her boyfriend from outside the camp and a suprising ally, Layla begins to resist the tyranny from the principal. Risky protests and serious consequenses don’t scare her, but not everyone is as confident as Layla. Just when the chance on an abortive protest becomes bigger than ever, Layla has to trust that everyone still has her back. Will she finally manage to end the tyranny of the principal an convince her fellow prisoners – and the rest of America – of the injustice that they are suffering from?
This is what I call ‘phenomenal’. This book contained every element I like to see – credibility, emotion, personal growth – which made reading this book very pleasant. The story takes place in America, in a not-so-farfetched future. The process that has been described to explain how the country came to the bizarre situation they were in, is so credible that you begin to doubt whether the story is as fictional as it says it is.
The personality and actions of the president kind of makes you think of another, existing president. That’s why, at the end of the book, Samira Ahmed points out that Internment isn’t only fiction anymore. She shares her concerns about how the modern world works and how the growing nationalists and fascists keep on affecting subcultures. By giving these subcultures a voice, Samira didn’t only deliver a book, she also delivered an informative and relativating story. I nearly couldn’t stop reading, just because I felt the importance of this story and the significance of her impact.
Another reason that kept me reading, were the many cliffhangers this book contains. The main character and her inner cirle get enough backstory, and their motifs are all so beautifully written. But what did irritate me, was the absence of motif for Layla’s opponents. For example: no reasons are given to explain the hostile attitude of the muslim supervisors or the story of the unexpected ally. The outcome of this is that it feels like something is missing – something essential that could’ve made the story even more interesting.
A very well-written book with a deeper message. Recommended for everyone interested in books with a political hint. Also suitable for readers who are looking for a compelling book, which will eventually make you cry a lot. But also think a lot. Because Samira Ahmed might have begun this book wistful, but she ended hopeful. The only part of this book you wish were true.