REVIEW: I Am Thunder - Muhammad Khan

I Am Thunder - Muhammad Khan
Published by Pan Macmillan on 25th January 2018.
My rating: 5/5
Book depository purchase link.

Finally, a book about an issue that's at the front of many people's minds. One that doesn't shy away from issues that could be offensive or controversial. I long for this kind of story. What's the point in avoiding one of the most obvious issues in our society today? There has been a huge gap in the YA market for a book on radicalisation and here it is. More importantly, it's told from exactly the right voice.

Muzna is a British girl with parents from Pakistan. They mix up traditional Pakistani values with Islam in the way they raise her and Muzna gets irritated by their lack of consistency. They have decided that she's going to become a doctor, not an author like she wants. She feels a gap between them. 

That gap is filled by Arif, an attractive guy at Muzna's new school. He quickly sticks up for her in class and from there a friendship is formed. Arif is funny, loyal and understanding of Muzna's problems. He gets what her parents miss. 

As Muzna begins to develop feelings for Arif, her whole perspective on Islam, Pakistan, womanhood and what it means to be British shifts. She feels ashamed around Arif's older brother Jameel and makes some changes to find her new self. But this is self-discovery like no other YA novel.

Written with the gripping pace of a thriller but the characterisation of The Hate U Give, the book progressed to a breath-taking final few chapters, making it a story I won't forget for a long time. In fact, I read it back in October and it's still playing on my mind. Muzna is a fierce female character with a story that will shake you.

This book is bold. 

I adored the writing style and the ability to open the pages and climb into Muzna's head. It's a space I haven't spent much time in but I find endlessly fascinating. Whatever your background is, whatever your reading taste is, this book is essential for your TBR.

It is a story on radicalisation during the war on terror.  It's a story with characters that could be real people. Nothing could be more timely or powerful. Perhaps Muhammad Khan is the strongest new voice in YA. I can't wait to see what he does next.

Love, Jess

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for my copy.

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