I Am Thunder
Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem, who dreams of being a writer, struggles with controlling parents who only care about her studying to be a doctor. Forced to move to a new school in South London after her best friend is shamed in a scandal, Muzna realizes that the bullies will follow her wherever she goes. But deciding to stand and face them instead of fighting her instinct to disappear is harder than it looks when there's prejudice everywhere you turn. Until the gorgeous and confident Arif shows an interest in her, encouraging Muzna to explore her freedom. But Arif is hiding his own secrets and, along with his brother Jameel, he begins to influence Muzna with their extreme view of the world. As her new freedom starts to disappear, Muzna is forced to question everything around her and make a terrible choice - keep quiet and betray herself, or speak out and betray her heart?A stunning new YA voice which questions how far you'll go to protect what you believe in.

I Am Thunder Details

TitleI Am Thunder
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 25th, 2018
PublisherMacmillan Children's Books
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

I Am Thunder Review

  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Fellow bookworms, keep your eyes peeled for this book on January 25th. Set in present day Britain, Muhammed Khan explores the racism and discrimination of the Muslim population in England(and the Western world) while also bringing the topic of the recruitment tactics of some extremist groups . His protagonist is a teenage girl by the name of Muzna Saleem. An only child, Muzna's future is filled with plenty of expectations from her parents, immigrants from Pakistan. All Muzna wants is to be a wri Fellow bookworms, keep your eyes peeled for this book on January 25th. Set in present day Britain, Muhammed Khan explores the racism and discrimination of the Muslim population in England(and the Western world) while also bringing the topic of the recruitment tactics of some extremist groups . His protagonist is a teenage girl by the name of Muzna Saleem. An only child, Muzna's future is filled with plenty of expectations from her parents, immigrants from Pakistan. All Muzna wants is to be a writer, to create books with strong Muslim characters, so that the racism that she deals with on a daily basis will become something of the past. On the other hand, her parents desire her to become a doctor. Although Muzna's parents do want their daughter to obtain a strong education, they fear the effects of living in a society and culture so different than their origin country. We see Muzna 's parents very concerned about the friends that Muzna makes. When a female friend gets herself in trouble and Muzna's father loses his job, the family move to another area and a new school. It is here that Muzna catches the eye of a good looking young man, Arif. As Muzna and Arif grow closer, Muzna begins to question everyone around her, including her parents. I absolutely devoured this book and I loved the strong character that Muzna embodies. When a favorite teacher is wrongly accused, Muzna sets about to lead the school body on a campaign to reinstate him. Muzna is the very character that she wants to write about in her books. When Muzna meets Arif, we see that it is only gradually that Muzna is being led towards extremism. Early in the novel, Muzna is ridiculed for the way that she looks and Arif's kind manner is a breath of fresh air. Especially in a new school. Muhammed Khan was determined to show how young people(specifically, girls) are being recruited into joining extremist groups.What we can see as a reader, is that Muzna is on the outs with her parents, she is aware and speaks up regarding the racism she sees towards Muslims. But as many friends and adults begin to point out to her, Muzna does not see the pull that Arif and his older brother begin to have on her. What begins as curiosity to explore her religion, soon becomes an isolation from those around her. But I loved that through it all when these things were happening, Muzna has those little whispers of doubt. We see that as strong as she is, Muzna is also vulnerable. As a teacher reading this book, written by a teacher that is trying to explore his own questions about how these things happen, "I am Thunder" and its main character, Muzna deeply moved me and scared me too. Our children are so vulnerable in the internet age. Books like this will hopefully encourages us to "not keep quiet." I don't want to jinx it, but I felt that this book is definitely on par with "The Hate U Give. " It certainly deserves our attention.
    more
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes I feel like YA novels are a little reserved when it comes to talking about serious issues. I'm not sure why, maybe the author hasn't fully committed to the idea, maybe they don't think YA readers could handle it or maybe they are afraid to write something that could end up being a little controversial. But when I read those books that are afraid to really talk about an issue, it just kind of skits around the issue and the book often ends up being forgettable, one-dimensional and just v Sometimes I feel like YA novels are a little reserved when it comes to talking about serious issues. I'm not sure why, maybe the author hasn't fully committed to the idea, maybe they don't think YA readers could handle it or maybe they are afraid to write something that could end up being a little controversial. But when I read those books that are afraid to really talk about an issue, it just kind of skits around the issue and the book often ends up being forgettable, one-dimensional and just vapid. This book was not one of those books and so it ended up being something quite powerful and striking, while also being an enjoyable read and it did not feel preachy at all. Khan really didn't hold back while talking about massive issues like racism, islamophobia and radical terrorists.I think what really helped the novel was Muzna. Apart from being an awesome characters who was so funny, smart, three-dimensional and caring, she had some great character development. From the start of the book to the end of the book, she goes through things that mature her and change her. She is just trying to find herself, like any other teenager and it was hard to see her struggle with what she wanted vs what her family wanted for her and struggle with people bullying her just because she was a Muslim. I certainly don't understand why people can be so prejudiced, ignorant and horrible to people just because of where they come from, what religion they are or what colour their skin is. I did really enjoy how Muzna wrote about being an immigrant family's daughter. Her family expected her to be "proper" like a Pakistani girl but Muzna thought that it was unfair because she had been brought up in Britain with British traditions and British people all around her. She considered herself to be British and she was but her family just couldn't understand her.The writing was good. Muzna did sound like a teenage girl so that really made the novel believable. The writing was simple but I really enjoyed reading it. I especially liked the dedication at the start of the book.I would definitely recommend this and I would read more by Muhammad Khan.* I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“I wrote Muzna’s story for you. Muslim or non-Muslim? It doesn’t matter to me. It shouldn’t matter to you. You are thunder. Don’t keep quiet.”“‘The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any’ Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author.”“It was cruel to bring me up in Britain, make me go to school with British kids, then expect me to act like a girl from back home. Outside of having brown skin, speaking the language, and half-heartedly cheering the cricket team on with Dad, I had no real idea of what it meant to be Pakistani.”
    more
  • Kate (beautifulbookland)
    January 1, 1970
    This book is going to stay with me for a long time. I almost didn’t request it on NetGalley, because, honestly, I usually avoid religion like the plague because it scares the shit out of me - how it can completely brain wash someone. The PlotFifteen year old Muzna dreams of being a writer, while her overbearingly pushy parents only care about her becoming a doctor. Her parents control her life, and their family image is everything; so when her best friend is found in a boy’s bed, Muzna is forced This book is going to stay with me for a long time. I almost didn’t request it on NetGalley, because, honestly, I usually avoid religion like the plague because it scares the shit out of me - how it can completely brain wash someone. The PlotFifteen year old Muzna dreams of being a writer, while her overbearingly pushy parents only care about her becoming a doctor. Her parents control her life, and their family image is everything; so when her best friend is found in a boy’s bed, Muzna is forced to break all ties, and move school. And while her new school has its fair share of bullies, she quickly catches the eye of Arif. As they grow closer, Muzna’s believes are pushed to the extreme, and she is forced to decide between the people she loves and doing what is right.I Am Thunder deals with radicalisation so well. Because as you go along with Muzna’s story, there are little warning signs here and there, but it’s only towards the end of the book that you actually realise how far things have gone. It was so subtle, and so easy to get caught up in if you were actually living it. It was fucking terrifying. The CharactersMuzna...dear, dear Muzna. She’s so vulnerable and timid at the beginning of the book, and to see her character development was so incredible. I loved seeing her standing up for herself and what’s right. I was rooting for her, all the time. Even when I wanted to bitch slap her. I loved her relationship with her English teacher, too. It was very sweet. Her parents irritated the shit out of me, but I can understand that they only wanted to do what they thought was right (only they forgot the all important part where they actually listened to their daughter). The WritingI loved the writing! It was so witty, without being forced; sometimes I find books set in England to be super cringe worthy and unrealistic, but the banter and the teenagers were both beautifully British.The VerdictHonestly? This is the sort of book that everyone needs to read. Because while, yes, there’s extremism and terrorism, there are also genuine Muslim’s, who want to live their lives and do everything they can for the world, who want the freedom to practice their faith in peace. While this book is about racism, one thing that it does do extremely well is how racism is (or should be) dealt with at that time. I’m not talking about the victim, I’m talking about the bystanders; the people who turn a blind eye to the cruelty around them. The support that Muzna gets from one particular old woman on a bus gave me chills, and, as someone who has never had to deal with racism, it has definitely helped me appreciate the power that support has. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching novel, this is for you.*thank you to the publisher for sending me a free e-arc of this book*
    more
  • Jananee (headinherbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    The Rating: 2.5/5 stars In order to best summarise my thoughts, I’ve decided to split it up into things I liked and things I didn’t like so let’s just get into it.Just a brief summary first to get started though – this book follows Muzna who’s a teen trying to fit in a world where most everything seems to be going against her. We follow her as she tries to juggle the differing societal expectations of both her British and Pakistani backgrounds, her overprotective parents, her unruly best friend The Rating: 2.5/5 stars In order to best summarise my thoughts, I’ve decided to split it up into things I liked and things I didn’t like so let’s just get into it.Just a brief summary first to get started though – this book follows Muzna who’s a teen trying to fit in a world where most everything seems to be going against her. We follow her as she tries to juggle the differing societal expectations of both her British and Pakistani backgrounds, her overprotective parents, her unruly best friend, Islamophobia and, of course, boys. Things I Liked - It was an incredibly fast and short read and the subject matter is engaging so you will probably, like me, find yourself flying through the book- Muzna was a very likeable character and you end up empathizing with her a lot as the books goes along. Yes, she does make some incredibly questionable decisions but I guess the same can be said of any teen her age.- It had a really good discussion of Islamophobia and fear mongering that has become almost synonymous with today’s society. Muzna is the object of a lot of misplaced anger throughout this book, from various characters, and it provided a good insight into what it might be like for Muslim individuals living in Western countries in today’s political climate.- Had a very thought-provoking and interesting discussion on extremism and the tactics employed by extremist groups to recruit in foreign countries. I’m not sure how much of this part of the book was based in fact but it was terrifying to see how easily teens were preyed upon. Things I Didn't Like - I didn’t get along with the writing AT ALL. The author used a very heavy British accent throughout the novel and whilst this might have been an endearing concept, it was executed horribly. At times the dialogue was unbearably cringe inducing and the characters so two-dimensional that it become hard to read. This is a debut novel, and therefore the author should be given some benefit of the doubt but it really could have done with some stronger editing.- Whilst I do think the author did a good job in discussing Islamophobia, I think they choose to focus on the most extreme instances of religious intolerance for effect and ignored the more subtle microaggressions that occur everyday. Whilst I do not discount or diminish the experiences Muzna faced, I do think the whole discussion could have used a little more nuance.- I would have loved to see more of some the secondary characters who I felt were often introduced and then pushed to the side, quickly forgotten. One of these characters was Khadijah who genuinely seemed like such an interesting figure and one that had a significant impact on Muzna’s life and so the fact that she was only included for a few scenes continues to puzzle me.In the end, I think I Am Thunder had an interesting concept but a poor execution. Despite this book probably not being for me, it is #OwnVoices for Pakistani and Muslim representation and has the potential to do wonders for teens looking for such representation in books.I’ve linked a few #OwnVoices reviews down below so make sure to check them out! - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...- https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
    more
  • Marie Andrews
    January 1, 1970
    I Am Thunder follows the story of 15 year old Muzna, an ordinary Muslim-teen, trying to fit into a new high school in London. Her strict Pakistani parents want only the best for her - urging her to become a Dr, even though Muzna dreams of becoming an author, especially so she can represent Muslim voices in writing. Whilst trying to settle into the new school environment, she becomes friends with Arif, and it is this relationship, along with his brother, Jameel, that Muzna starts to question. Sho I Am Thunder follows the story of 15 year old Muzna, an ordinary Muslim-teen, trying to fit into a new high school in London. Her strict Pakistani parents want only the best for her - urging her to become a Dr, even though Muzna dreams of becoming an author, especially so she can represent Muslim voices in writing. Whilst trying to settle into the new school environment, she becomes friends with Arif, and it is this relationship, along with his brother, Jameel, that Muzna starts to question. Should she follow her head or her heart?This book. Just WOW. I have read a lot of YA books over the years and this is definitely up there with the very very best. Muzna is a breath of fresh air - her intelligence and personality is apparent from the very first page. This book shows the struggles of an everyday Muslim teenager and it's fantastic that voices like this are finally being heard. This book covers very important issues such as Islamophobia, terrorism, extremism and bullying, yet all of these are covered in a powerful, yet sensitive manner. You can't have a YA book without friendships and relationships and I think that's what makes this book so great - it really does have a brilliant mix on everything I could dream for in a book. Muzna deals with normal teen problems as well, such as body-issues, parent relationships, grades and changing friendships, and it is this what allows us to connect so well with her as a character. This is a MUST read and a great asset to the YA book industry.I predict huge success for I Am Thunder and can't recommend it enough! One of my favourite YA books ever!Review also on my blog: https://lotsoflivres.com/2018/01/25/i...
    more
  • Rosie
    January 1, 1970
    **3.5 Stars**This had slow beginning but it really picked up toward the end!Love the main character.Some of the language (especially in texts) didn't feel authentic.
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    • Family, faith and extremism • Subtle but powerful• Muzna is intelligent and funny• The South London slang is “next level”• Truly eye opening, and a must read for everyone; the voice UKYA is crying out for
  • Megan (YABookers)
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book free from the publisher.Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem is passionate about writing. She struggles with Maths and Science but her parents want her to become a doctor. After her best friend is shamed by a scandal, her parents force her to cut off contact and she is moved to a new school. Having to face the world alone is a scary concept for Muzna, as she has always had her friend by her side. At her new school, she finds her voice and pushes back against p Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book free from the publisher.Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem is passionate about writing. She struggles with Maths and Science but her parents want her to become a doctor. After her best friend is shamed by a scandal, her parents force her to cut off contact and she is moved to a new school. Having to face the world alone is a scary concept for Muzna, as she has always had her friend by her side. At her new school, she finds her voice and pushes back against prejudice she sees everywhere she goes. She meets Arif, the gorgeous and confident boy who takes an interest in Muzna. But Arif has secrets, and his brother Jameel starts to influence Muzna with his views of the world. Muzna starts to question everything she’s heard as her freedom starts to disappear. I Am Thunder is an extremely powerful, relevant, and harrowing book. It tackles a lot of serious things that don’t often appear in books. It tackles extremism, radicalisation, racism, and Islamophobia.Muzna is a British-Pakistani Muslim and I love the character growth she goes through throughout the novel. Muzna starts out very naive and timid and she struggles to defend herself as she has always relied on her friend to stand by her side. But I loved how she learnt to voice her opinions and to speak up for something good. I also loved her relationship with Islam. She was taken advantage of, but I still love that she wanted to find her own relationship with Islam. I loved how, despite the radicalisation and extremism she faced, she still chose to wear the hijab because it was, most importantly, her choice. Muzna is a flawed, but a formidable protagonist and she is easy to love and root for.I thought that I Am Thunder dealt with radicalisation so well and it was so scary how subtle and manipulative and effective it is when done with young teenagers. I’m glad that it was shown because I feel like a lot of people shy away from it. An intense and important book that I think needs to be placed in every school library.I Am Thunder also dealt with parental expectations and controlling parents. I do think they had good intentions and only wanted what they thought was best for Muzna, but it irritated me that they didn’t listen to her.An important message that I also took from this book is about those that stand by and watch racism and Islamophobia happen. There is an extremely powerful bus scene that I imagine happens all too often. It shows how racism needs to be called out when it happens.Overall, I think I Am Thunder is a really important and relevant book, especially to Muslim teens growing up facing Islamophobia but also potentially facing radicalisation and I think it balances the two really well.
    more
  • Adiba Jaigirdar
    January 1, 1970
    It was cruel to bring me up in Britain make me go to school with British kids, then expect me to act like a girl from back home. Outside of having brown skin, speaking the language, and half-heartedly cheering the cricket team on with Dad, I had no real idea of what it meant to be Pakistani. I mean, how could I? I Am Thunder is a YA novel unlike any I have come across before, just because it takes a topic that is timely and significant and tackles it head-on. Muhammad Khan doesn't pull any punc It was cruel to bring me up in Britain make me go to school with British kids, then expect me to act like a girl from back home. Outside of having brown skin, speaking the language, and half-heartedly cheering the cricket team on with Dad, I had no real idea of what it meant to be Pakistani. I mean, how could I? I Am Thunder is a YA novel unlike any I have come across before, just because it takes a topic that is timely and significant and tackles it head-on. Muhammad Khan doesn't pull any punches when it comes to exploring the vulnerability of young Muslims when it comes to being recruited into terrorist organisations. The second half of this book, as we watch Muzna struggle with her identity and come to terms with the truth is truly powerful and amazing. I did have a few issues with the first half of the book. There were times the writing was a bit clumsy, and the fact that the novel takes us from Muzna's youth to near adulthood in the space of a few hundred pages meant that some things felt a little lacklustre, instead of being properly explored. I was also really moved by the note from the author at the beginning, about what prompted him to write the book: "Writing [the book] was painful, but I needed to understand what might lead someone to make these bad choices." And I think that's something a lot of Muslims - unfortunately - have to try and deal with, a question they have to ask themselves. That Muhammad Khan has gone ahead and written a book that does deal with this question head-on is kind of amazing.Read my full review on Cultured Vultures.
    more
  • Kath Middleton
    January 1, 1970
    Muzna is a plain looking girl who lacks self-confidence. Her Muslim parents move her to a new school when her father loses his job and her best friend is deemed to be a bad influence. At her new school she falls for Arif, the school heart-throb who, unbelievably, falls for her too. His brother persuades Muzna to wear the hijab. Her own parents disapprove. Gradually, she finds she’s become enmeshed in more than she’s comfortable with. Can she be true to herself?This story is immediate and compell Muzna is a plain looking girl who lacks self-confidence. Her Muslim parents move her to a new school when her father loses his job and her best friend is deemed to be a bad influence. At her new school she falls for Arif, the school heart-throb who, unbelievably, falls for her too. His brother persuades Muzna to wear the hijab. Her own parents disapprove. Gradually, she finds she’s become enmeshed in more than she’s comfortable with. Can she be true to herself?This story is immediate and compelling. It’s upfront and up-to-date and I read it over 24 hours in two long sessions. It considers, without preaching, what life is like for a young, British-born Muslim girl who feels herself pulled in different directions. I highly recommend this for young and old readers.Thanks to Netgalley for a preview copy.
    more
  • Umairah
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve been reading a lot about representation lately, what with diversity being a buzzword nowadays. In the past, when I’ve read a book there were never any expectations to see a Muslim protagonist, I just expected (as Shakespeare said, expectation is the root of all heartache) a good book and an absorbing story with some relatable experiences. Then everyone started talking about how there are different types of readers (duh) so there should be more than one type of writer. I’d never thought abou I’ve been reading a lot about representation lately, what with diversity being a buzzword nowadays. In the past, when I’ve read a book there were never any expectations to see a Muslim protagonist, I just expected (as Shakespeare said, expectation is the root of all heartache) a good book and an absorbing story with some relatable experiences. Then everyone started talking about how there are different types of readers (duh) so there should be more than one type of writer. I’d never thought about that, that there could be anything different. People like me just weren’t in books.And then I read I Am Thunder. This book will give you all the feels. Being reflected in literature is ACTUALLY comforting, even though I’ve never had the explicit experiences Muzna has. Yet it’s unequivocal how refreshing it was to see similarities. More books like this please. We can do better. *hints vaguely towards publishers*Muzna is in high school, doing her GCSEs, her parents want her to be a doctor but she wants to be a writer. After starting a new school (I liked Salma) she meets Arif, who she of course falls for. And whilst you might go into the book thinking it’s all black and white, you are in for a SHOCK, as well as the realisation of how much more is under the surface of our judgements.One thing I loved about this book is how REAL it was. Muzna is a normal (whatever that means of course) teenager, she makes mistakes, she struggles with her overprotective but ultimately loving parents, she has realisations, she isn’t always strong, but she wants to do the right thing.I love how the ending isn’t a happily ever after (is that a spoiler? Depends on what you interpret happily ever after as right?). You know she has a way to go, but it’s real. I don’t think the book is just for diverse readers, everyone should read this, and it’ll make you tear up, laugh and somehow after making you lose faith in people, restore it again by the last page. Not completely (because the cynic life is real), but enough for that post-book feeling to be meaningful.Perhaps one of the best things about this book though, is the way the author successfully manages to highlight the way there are different types of Muslims. He doesn’t pigeonhole everyone into one category and it’s so rare to see that in fiction. It’s EMPOWERING.I Am Thunder isn’t like any book you’ve read before, Khan is a pioneer in YA and it’s the first of its kind I’ve read. So you should buy it when it’s released on the 25th of January 2018. Five stars from me. He said he ‘wanted it to be a warm hug,’ but it’s so much more.Whilst the quotes are subject to change, here are some of my favourites:‘I am Muzna Saleem,’ I said, lifting my chin. ‘I am the cloud that brings the rain.’‘You are British and you are Pakistani,’ he said, breaking his own contemplative silence. ‘but before both of these, you are Muzna Saleem. And the world has never had one of those.’Thanks to Beatrice May at Macmillan Kids UK for sending me an advance copy. This review is also posted on my blog at: https://theyellowpenpot.wordpress.com...
    more
  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a free copy of I am Thunder from My Kinda Book (Macmillian) in exchange for an honest review.* - Release Date: 25 January 2018This debut Novel by Muhammed Khan is an own voices story, revealing what it’s like for Muslim’s growing up with protagonists of them all being classed as a ‘terrorist’. I am Thunder is all about 15 year old Munza Saleem who has a passion for becoming a writer once finishing high school, except there are two problems – her parents are strict and want her to bec *I received a free copy of I am Thunder from My Kinda Book (Macmillian) in exchange for an honest review.* - Release Date: 25 January 2018This debut Novel by Muhammed Khan is an own voices story, revealing what it’s like for Muslim’s growing up with protagonists of them all being classed as a ‘terrorist’. I am Thunder is all about 15 year old Munza Saleem who has a passion for becoming a writer once finishing high school, except there are two problems – her parents are strict and want her to become a doctor, AND she’s extremely shocked when the hottest boy in the school shows interest in her. Munza is a shy Muslim living in Britain, struggling with the life of becoming who she really wants to be. This book portrays how easy it is for young teenagers to be pulled into extremism and be wind-swept through radicalisation. It is an honest, real view of the lifestyle many have no choice but to grow up in, yet Munza believes in herself and tries to save the others she loves – to protect them from the people who believe they caused injustice. If you are unfamiliar with religion and how certain cultures work, this book will open your eyes to the harshness of real-life. Although not personally affected by any of the issues raised in this book, I honestly think it’s one of the realist books I have ever read – I was unable to put it down as I was curious about the plot and how it was going to end. It was a rollercoaster of a read, I was cheering Munza on the whole way and I felt strongly about other characters too (Arif, especially).Overall, this book portrays the importance behind religion, radicalisation, family, school and the community. It was a thoughtful and heart-breaking story. I hope to see more from Muhammed Khan in the future!
    more
  • Alex Granger
    January 1, 1970
    This book is an absolute tour de force! Instead of watering down difficult topics like Islamophobia and radicalization, Khan tackles them head on through the innocent eyes of an intelligent and relatable heroine. Muzna is adorably flawed and naïve and perhaps the novel’s greatest achievement is in slowly developing her into the powerful young lady she is destined to become. Rarely do teenage female protagonists go on to achieve this level of heroism, so it is only fitting that Muzna should be a This book is an absolute tour de force! Instead of watering down difficult topics like Islamophobia and radicalization, Khan tackles them head on through the innocent eyes of an intelligent and relatable heroine. Muzna is adorably flawed and naïve and perhaps the novel’s greatest achievement is in slowly developing her into the powerful young lady she is destined to become. Rarely do teenage female protagonists go on to achieve this level of heroism, so it is only fitting that Muzna should be a person of colour and a girl in a headscarf.The book reminded me of the white privilege I have been conditioned to take for granted and how that can sometimes colour our views. I saw my own students in the diverse cast of characters that simply leap off the page and I can’t wait to share the book with them on release. I know they’re going to love it as much as I do!The author mixes humour and witty dialogue with thrills and moments of genuine terror. Without saying too much, I felt Jameel was a beautifully realised villain. If this book doesn’t end up on prize lists it will be a damning indictment on the state of the publishing industry and its failure to recognise ethnic talent.Expect this book to stay with you long after you put it down!
    more
  • Kausr H.
    January 1, 1970
    Made me proud to be a Muslim. Muzna is an amazing hero. I saw myself and my sisters in her. Loved how the author touched on so many important issues with honesty and compassion.
  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most confronting books I have read this year and a story that really hits the nail on the head. Firstly, I want to take this moment to thank the author, Muhammad Khan, for writing this story. This book is definitely an eye opener for Non-Muslim readers and a warm hug to the Muslim readers as stated in his author’s note. Whilst dialogue among 16 year olds can be cheesy, I found the book to be very well written, honest and beautifully illustrated the world today. It's a book that will d One of the most confronting books I have read this year and a story that really hits the nail on the head. Firstly, I want to take this moment to thank the author, Muhammad Khan, for writing this story. This book is definitely an eye opener for Non-Muslim readers and a warm hug to the Muslim readers as stated in his author’s note. Whilst dialogue among 16 year olds can be cheesy, I found the book to be very well written, honest and beautifully illustrated the world today. It's a book that will definitely spark positive discussion among Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. As a Muslim/Hijabi woman reading this book, I had such a personal connection to the story and the character but felt extremely thankful I didn’t experience absolutely everything the protagonist, Muzna went through. The author did a fantastic job in demonstrating the constant confusion in families who put culture first, Islam second which is a leading cause of clash and confusion in communities. Cultural identity is a real challenge especially among the youth and I really felt for Muzna being an only child growing up in the western world with strong ties to her cultural traditions and expectations, it can be a challenge. Whilst the western world provides amazing opportunities to us, one can feel trapped between to cultures. The character profiling in this book was very real. In addition to cultural identity, the fury Muzna and her parents felt when waking up to headline news of terrorist attacks and murder of innocent victims carried out in the name of our faith was all too real for me. It was a wave of mixed emotions - anger for what this mob did in our name and the compounding weariness of stepping out of our house wearing the hijab - that need to constantly be vigiliant in your own country in case of being on the receiving end of hate attacks for crimes you never committed or endorsed - yet refusing to live in fear. I also felt Muzna had the right idea of wanting to set a passive example in the community to demonstrate that these acts committed do not represent my faith or me with her aspiration to be a novelist. What was also frighteningly real in this book was how realistic the story was – with strong characters making poor decisions or turned a blind eye to things you think is so obviously wrong but that's exactly why it was so real because it demonstrated exactly how extremists operate. They select articulate, intelligent individuals who may have a vulnerability such as a fractured home life and they target that as part of their mission to ‘recruit’ and 'use'.Again, this book is extremely well written and fast paced. I am sure readers will have an emotional reaction to the story. Personally, I gasped, cringed, laughed, cried and I even had to put the book down for a moment as I was getting so worked up over it (it's so real). I feel this is an important story and as a favour to me, I ask everyone to read this when it’s out :)Special thanks to Pan Macmillan Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy of this book – review will be posted as part of the blog tour next month.
    more
  • Suzanne Bhargava
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve been prevaricating about writing this review, because I wanted to do the book justice. It was brilliant. A strong contender for my Carnegie nomination next year. As debuts go, I was blown away by the dialogue and narrative voice, which feels fresh and authentic (it was brave genius of Muhammad Khan to use his South London students as beta readers / slang police). The story is mainly about Islamophobia, extremism and the balancing act of being a British born Pakistani teenage girl. Woven thr I’ve been prevaricating about writing this review, because I wanted to do the book justice. It was brilliant. A strong contender for my Carnegie nomination next year. As debuts go, I was blown away by the dialogue and narrative voice, which feels fresh and authentic (it was brave genius of Muhammad Khan to use his South London students as beta readers / slang police). The story is mainly about Islamophobia, extremism and the balancing act of being a British born Pakistani teenage girl. Woven through these main parts are issues of body image, self esteem, family pressures, slut shaming, falling in love, bullying, the varied ways of being a Muslim, grooming, catfishing, and radicalisation. It’s a lot, but it works. And the story, like real life, is full of grey areas - a big one is how Arif (the gorgeous love interest) pulls Muzna into extremist views using the truth - in the mainstream media, when a black man kills people he’s a gangbanger, when a brown man kills people he’s a terrorist, and when a white man kills people he is a lone wolf with mental health issues. And when hundreds of Asians are killed in an attack, it doesn’t make front page news. All these things are true, but your heart breaks for Muzna as you see where her anger could lead her. But she is a strong, smart, albeit vulnerable young woman, so the reader holds out hope for her that she will do the right thing.
    more
  • Edel
    January 1, 1970
    This is a story about a teenage girl called Muzna , she dreams of being an author when she gets older but her strict Muslim parents have other ideas for her . Muzna is a great character , she is funny and down to earth with ambition and gumption . Muzna lives in the UK with her family who are originally from Pakistan , she has had a rigid upbringing where her parents are always trying to keep her safe in every way, but especially where boys are concerned , so when she meets a boy she likes her s This is a story about a teenage girl called Muzna , she dreams of being an author when she gets older but her strict Muslim parents have other ideas for her . Muzna is a great character , she is funny and down to earth with ambition and gumption . Muzna lives in the UK with her family who are originally from Pakistan , she has had a rigid upbringing where her parents are always trying to keep her safe in every way, but especially where boys are concerned , so when she meets a boy she likes her straightforward world gets a lot more complicated and dangerous for her and those around her . This was a beautiful and heartbreaking book , the main character had such a great sense of humour I was rooting for her to do well . I read this in one sitting , it was marvellous . I received this book for review from the lovely people over at Lovereading4kids .
    more
  • Jessikah Stenson
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant new voice and a daring story. I can't wait to write my full review.
  • Sinead (Huntress of Diverse Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!I received an ARC of I Am Thunder from Netgalley. This is one of the only UK books coming out next year that has been written by an author of colour. I’ve changed schools a lot, so I am always very interested in stories about children who change schools.This book is #ownvoices for Pakistani British and Muslim representation.__I Am Thunder was a good read. It discusses how extremism can slowly creep into a person’s life, without Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!I received an ARC of I Am Thunder from Netgalley. This is one of the only UK books coming out next year that has been written by an author of colour. I’ve changed schools a lot, so I am always very interested in stories about children who change schools.This book is #ownvoices for Pakistani British and Muslim representation.__I Am Thunder was a good read. It discusses how extremism can slowly creep into a person’s life, without them realising what is happening. It also shows how difficult it is for someone to get out of such a group. I was really invested in the climax and so worried about what was going to happen.I wish that there had been more scenes with Khadijah and Muzna, as Khadijah was such a strong and feminist character and it would have been interesting to read more about their conversations with each other.One of the scenes that I enjoyed a lot was when Muzna had an idea to write an essay about how if the Queen is British even though she has German roots, then she herself is just as British even though she has Pakistani roots.It’s also great that it’s directly mentioned in the text that certain people might be Islamantagonistic because of their experiences, but it is just an explanation for their actions, not an excuse.The one aspect that I really didn’t like was how Muzna thought she was ugly because she is fat and has a lot of body hair. She always puts herself down. In the end, it still feels like she cannot truly believe that the love interest would want to be with her.There are some ableist words in the book.__I Am Thunder was a good book. It was a nice read but didn’t completely impress me. I want to recommend it to young adults because it discusses how extremism can take over a person’s life quietly, however the anti-fat, negative body hair, and ableist comments were never really addressed, and I think these comments could be hurtful to some readers.Trigger warnings: Islamantagonism, terrorism, childhood sexual abuse.
    more
  • Karolane
    January 1, 1970
    I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was scared when I first picked this book up. I am still very scared to post a review of this book because I cannot speak for the accuracy of the cultural and religious portrayal of this book. I will not be judging the content related to those topics because I have yet to see own voices reviews for this book to get a better idea of the accuracy of it.In the author's note, it is mentioned that the intention of the author was I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was scared when I first picked this book up. I am still very scared to post a review of this book because I cannot speak for the accuracy of the cultural and religious portrayal of this book. I will not be judging the content related to those topics because I have yet to see own voices reviews for this book to get a better idea of the accuracy of it.In the author's note, it is mentioned that the intention of the author was to explore the many reasons behind why young people would just leave Occidental countries to go an join extremist groups and/or cults in the countries of origin. Being a teacher, Khan felt very strongly about understanding the youth he is surrounded by day by day. I found that this was a very important thing - to show why such kids would just go on and leave their entire life and family to go follow some people they never met in countries they probably never visited. I think that's a good resumé of the author's intention. If not, I am truly and deeply sorry.I loved Muzna. I totally could see my younger self in her and I just think that she was really well portrayed. I'm not sure if Khan made some research or just based her character on his observations but he did a great job at creating a young teenager girl who is totally naïve and who sees the good in everything. I liked that she felt like a real teenager. I liked that she was a whole character, with her flaws and her qualities and that we were shown her personality throughout her actions and not told. Since this is a first-person POV I think that it was overall really well done and I really grew to love her.One thing that I also really enjoyed is that even though she is really naive, she is also very self-aware and she questions everything that she is told. There is a lot of things that she is told throughout this book that she questions deeply before accepting them and the more the book goes, the more critical she is of the information given to her by Jameel. I'm sorry. This is my second time writing this review and I'm pissed because the first one was better. But I lost it. Hurray to technology! I just overall think that this book is important and that young readers SHOULD read this because it is an important subject. Even more so young teenagers who are Pakistani/Muslim like Muzna because it is wonderful to be able to read about characters that are similar to us. I recommend this book to everyone. It was beautiful and amazing.
    more
  • Jemima Pett
    January 1, 1970
    In a line: Brilliantly written,with touches that made me fear coming back to it. This is a thoroughly believable novel, or rather thriller, or maybe it's suspense, about contemporary life in London. Since the author is/was a contemporary London schoolteacher (secondary i.e. ages 11-16), I can well believe the sorts of things that go on, even if it seems a far cry from my experience of school in London.  Muzna is an engaging character, full of the normal doubts and fears about her place in societ In a line: Brilliantly written,with touches that made me fear coming back to it. This is a thoroughly believable novel, or rather thriller, or maybe it's suspense, about contemporary life in London. Since the author is/was a contemporary London schoolteacher (secondary i.e. ages 11-16), I can well believe the sorts of things that go on, even if it seems a far cry from my experience of school in London.  Muzna is an engaging character, full of the normal doubts and fears about her place in society - especially the classroom - with the added confusion of a strict, potentially sheltered upbringing by parents who wish to engage their Britishness while not upsetting their tight-knit Muslim community.  Thinking of how stressful those teen hormone years are anyway, it's a wonder Muzna, and others like her, don't explode under the pressure of all this contradictory conformism.  The writing comes across as a sensitive study from one who has seen this pressure on kids, over and over again.  Yet it does not inhibit a freshness of language, and some amazingly descriptive pieces that launch the wired world into your face. "Picturing a Wall of Calm, I imagined sticking my head in it" was the only quote I highlighted, but there were plenty of paragraphs that deserved cherishing.I feared where this was all heading.  On the one hand, I feared it descending into a Reluctant Fundamentalist clone for YA, another revelation of how the West forces reasonable people into corners until all they can do is fight back.  I also feared for the relationships between the teens, and especially Muzna's blindness to what was obvious to everyone else.  But that was only too real. Jane Austen would have recognised the syndrome.The big build was slow, detailed and full of cultural confusion. The climax was horrific, horrendous, and brilliantly developed. The finale was carefully wrought, and sensibly unsensational.  It's a brilliant book.  The only reason I didn't give it five stars originally was because I was, for two considerable periods of time, afraid to go back to it. Maybe it's me who's the reluctant fundamentalist.I should give it the extra star it deserves (I now have).  It's not to everyone's taste, full of teen angst, and a lesson to adults in both what grooming is and the cack-handed way we're addressing it.  But actually, everyone should read it.
    more
  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really different read. Its strength lies in its depiction of teens facing many diverse challenges in Britain. While some of the slang, dialogue and colloquialisms may be a bit challenging for an Australian audience, Muzna's experience will resonate with many teens around the world. At times the narrative could have had a tighter structure.
    more
  • Holly Davies
    January 1, 1970
    Great narrative and a gripping story. A must-read for all teens.
  • Anisha (sprinkledpages)
    January 1, 1970
    this was very well written and powerful. keep an eye out for it friends!
  • Fall-Out-Book-Nerd
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come.
  • J.S. Cherfi
    January 1, 1970
    This young adult fiction book is from the point of view of a young Muslim girl, Muzna, who grows up being the victim of bullies, being pressured by her parents to follow a certain career and told by the media that her religion is evil. After a scandal she is forced to go to a new school where the dazzling and handsome Arif, much to her surprise, takes an interest in her. He and his brother try to guide Muzna and teach her more about Islam, which she is open to as her non-practicing parents have This young adult fiction book is from the point of view of a young Muslim girl, Muzna, who grows up being the victim of bullies, being pressured by her parents to follow a certain career and told by the media that her religion is evil. After a scandal she is forced to go to a new school where the dazzling and handsome Arif, much to her surprise, takes an interest in her. He and his brother try to guide Muzna and teach her more about Islam, which she is open to as her non-practicing parents have not taught her much about her religion.Reading this book, as a Muslim, I could relate to a lot of Muzna's experiences; getting stares for wearing the hijab; cruel comments after a terror has taken place somewhere in the world; trying to defend Islam to people who don't want to listen. There were many scenes involving things like this which were well written and they were sadly, very realistic. Muzna struggles to find her version of Islam; meanwhile she is trying to defend it against racists and Islamophobes and stop the one closest to her from being radicalised and slipping into the extremist version. As the story progresses, Muzna's character develops as she learns more about herself and the way she wants to practice her religion and as a reader this was satisfying to see.I'm so happy that Muhammad Khan wrote this book. Young Muslim girls, and in particular Asian Muslim girls, now have a character that they can relate to and represents them as well as a book that stands up for them.
    more
  • Debbie at Snuggling on the Sofa
    January 1, 1970
    Gosh. What a book.
  • miss c e rees
    January 1, 1970
    I Am Thunder was my first foray into YA fiction for a while and whilst I expected to be impressed by Khan’s writing, I wondered how the themes of radicalisation, religion and Islamophobia would be tackled in a fresh and conscientious way. This is probably one of the key achievements of the book. These tough subjects are effortlessly approached in a story that doesn’t preach, or sensationalise for the sake of plot. The story feels wholly real and I was swept along, just as Muzna (the protagonist) I Am Thunder was my first foray into YA fiction for a while and whilst I expected to be impressed by Khan’s writing, I wondered how the themes of radicalisation, religion and Islamophobia would be tackled in a fresh and conscientious way. This is probably one of the key achievements of the book. These tough subjects are effortlessly approached in a story that doesn’t preach, or sensationalise for the sake of plot. The story feels wholly real and I was swept along, just as Muzna (the protagonist) was. The voice of Muzna is witty, loveable and – most impressively – so real that she really jumps off the page and into your heart and this is ultimately why the story feels so authentic. In a foreword the author writes the Muzna’s teenage experience is one that each and every one of us can relate to, whatever our background – and I entirely agree that this is true. Family pressure, feelings of inadequacy and the need for acceptance are all themes that touch us throughout life, whatever our faith, whatever our age. Khan writes from the heart for his audience, with sincerity and respect – and it shows.
    more
  • Annalise
    January 1, 1970
    Again, it’s been a while since I actually read this book as I’ve been a bit rubbish at reviewing recently… but I loved this book so much I had to review it. I may have been raving about it on Twitter a little too much already.I don’t want to say too much except - just read it. You know when you read a book that is timely and political, touches a tough subject matter, and is just so fresh and unique, you devour it and want to thrust a copy upon everyone you meet? This is that book. It’s so exciti Again, it’s been a while since I actually read this book as I’ve been a bit rubbish at reviewing recently… but I loved this book so much I had to review it. I may have been raving about it on Twitter a little too much already.I don’t want to say too much except - just read it. You know when you read a book that is timely and political, touches a tough subject matter, and is just so fresh and unique, you devour it and want to thrust a copy upon everyone you meet? This is that book. It’s so exciting to see a PoC author writing UKYA, especially about such a controversial subject - islamic radicalisation. Muzna is an endearing main character, and her story is understandable and realistic.This book reminded me of The Hate U Give - it’s timely, it’s important, it deals with radicalisation head-on. I hope it gets the kind of buzz THUG received last year - and maybe even makes it way across the pond. I loved the UK elements in this book - I think it makes the book even more relatable.Verdict: read it. Now. (and not just for the gorgeous cover!)
    more
  • Ailsa
    January 1, 1970
    This was a difficult book to read, and I'm sure even more difficult to write for Muhammad Khan, the English teacher and author from London. This is his debut novel, written in the wake of the schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join ISIS. Muzna is a fifteen year old Muslim girl who deals with a multitude of problems, from her overbearing Pakistani parents who want her to be a doctor, to bullying at school for being Muslim. When she meets Arif at her new school she can't believe this good looki This was a difficult book to read, and I'm sure even more difficult to write for Muhammad Khan, the English teacher and author from London. This is his debut novel, written in the wake of the schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join ISIS. Muzna is a fifteen year old Muslim girl who deals with a multitude of problems, from her overbearing Pakistani parents who want her to be a doctor, to bullying at school for being Muslim. When she meets Arif at her new school she can't believe this good looking Muslim boy wants to be her friend and she struggles with his devout older brother who instantly dislikes her for not wearing the hijab. I Am a Thunder captures the feelings of being a second generation immigrant to this country as well as the dangers of radicalisation deftly and thoughtfully, and it's a heartbreaking story, more so because of the elements of truth to it.(I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review)
    more
Write a review