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“Rebellions are built on hope" - Samira Ahmed, Internment
The military of this dystopian futuristic United States forces Layla Ahmed into an internment camp. This internment camp is for Muslim American citizens, and the issues brought up due to intolerance are horrific. Layla begins her journey to fight for freedom, raising her voice whenever she can.
This is a fast-paced story that describes the challenges that face Layla, her family, and friends which she made while trapped within the internment camp. As bleak as this story is, there are a few brief bouts of lightheartedness when it shows Layla and her boyfriend on the outside, who also helps her. The unexpected alliance with others helps Layla to face this menace to her freedom.
There is a thought-provoking tone throughout the story as Layla leads the revolution against the internment camp's Director and his guards. The book compels readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today. This resistance happens "fifteen minutes into America's future".
The book immediately drew me in and had me crying about the injustices faced by the steely Layla and her fellow Muslim Americans throughout the story. The displays of the parallels to WWII concentration camps and the lack of freedom at the fictional camp Mobius are harsh. The Islamophobia shown in this book calls back to the Japanese internment camps.
These parallels and the stark description of the Muslims' lives inside Mobius are what had me spitting with rage. I wish I could see more of the lives of the Muslim teenage prisoners and their interactions with the guards. Layla has some irresponsible and annoying qualities, but this endears her to me and makes her seem more realistic.
For the most part Layla is marvelous at showing resistance to government and to the xenophobic Director of the Mobius camp. Ayesha is another revolutionary and a great supporting character. The two teenage girls show tremendous courage bringing together the prisoners inside Mobius. This novel gives hope as it horrifies, and feels like an authentic call to action.