Internment

Internment

Rebellions are built on hope.Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a...

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Title:Internment
Author:Samira Ahmed
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Internment Reviews

  • Vicky Who Reads

    Internment is not a perfect story. But it is so, so powerful.

    Especially given recent events, books that fight Islamophobia are so important and I hope they will show future generations the consequences of perpetuating bigotry and hatred. I can only hope that Internment will shed light on the dangerous paths people–high profile and everyday–have taken in normalizing Islamophobia.

    Because Islamophobia is not okay, even if it’s meant as a “joke.” Internment shows a dangerous future that ma

    Internment is not a perfect story. But it is so, so powerful.

    Especially given recent events, books that fight Islamophobia are so important and I hope they will show future generations the consequences of perpetuating bigotry and hatred. I can only hope that Internment will shed light on the dangerous paths people–high profile and everyday–have taken in normalizing Islamophobia.

    Because Islamophobia is not okay, even if it’s meant as a “joke.” Internment shows a dangerous future that may be shocking to some, but isn’t unimaginable to me.

    I can’t say that this isn’t a possible future, especially if America and other countries fall further into an us vs. them narrative.

    I know people will say that this book sounds “exaggerated” or “tries too hard,” but I personally disagree with the idea that Internment is overdoing it. Very strongly.

    This book shows one future that could be very likely if we don’t speak out against it.

    It’s scary. It’s so scary. I think people who find this as a caricature or as overblown need to consider that this is

    1. written for teenagers!

    2. drawn from real life, and can very well be true. I think people who think this is overblown need to take a step back and reconsider whether they understand the full extent of Islamophobia today. (tea: sipped)

    Internment, in my opinion, is not supposed to be a book about pain. It’s not supposed to spend a lot of time on suffering, but rather focuses on rebellion. On fighting back. On giving hope.

    It isn’t perfect. But I think it’s a very good start and that it can’t satisfy everyone.

    I think anyone who reads this book is hoping for something different out of it. And I don’t think Internment will be able to please everyone. I personally was hoping for a less clean ending (weird, I know), but what Ahmed provided was different from that, but this didn’t make it bad.

    Islamophobia and its potential to harm so many is such a huge topic, and I don’t think any book would be able to adequately cover every element of this specific brand of hate.

    Ahmed still did a wonderful job of exploring the topic, and I really appreciated the nuance she added with the racism within Muslim communities (i.e. how black Muslims are treated differently from white Muslims or desi Muslims etc.).

    Internment may not cover everything, and it definitely won’t satisfy everyone. But I think, ultimately, the courage Layla shows in starting a rebellion was extremely admirable, awe-inspiring, and powerful.

    I think this is a wonderful book–for teens especially. It’s powerful and is clear in its message while still holding that subtext in between the lines.

    (I also think that adults need to remember, when reviewing this book, that it’s for teens and that writing a book with an extreme level of graphicness and a less hopeful message ultimately will decrease Internment‘s power for its intended audience.)

    So please read Internment. I find it moving and powerful, and I believe everyone needs to not only read this, but read this with the seriousness and consideration that it deserves.

    My review did not do this book justice, but I hope it provided some insight into just how important I believe Internment is. It’s a story of girl who rises up against hatred, and is inspiring in every way.

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  • Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    Original review posted on my blog :

    If you know me, you know that this one of my most anticipated releases and I’m still in a little in denial about the fact that I read it back at the end of 2018, and it’s all done. I admittedly didn’t love it as much as I hoped but I still have a lot of love for it. I will go in detail about the why of it a little further down in the review bu

    Original review posted on my blog :

    If you know me, you know that this one of my most anticipated releases and I’m still in a little in denial about the fact that I read it back at the end of 2018, and it’s all done. I admittedly didn’t love it as much as I hoped but I still have a lot of love for it. I will go in detail about the why of it a little further down in the review but I want to preface it by saying that this my review for the ARC. I was told by the author that there are some major changes in the finished copy, namely more talk of white supremacy as well as making the love interest biracial in addition to Jewish and a discussion of that intersection. So I will probably read the finished copy when it releases and edit my review accordingly.

    The opening chapter is one of the most powerful and memorable ones I’ve ever read. The writing is like a punch in the gut. That’s the best and only way I can accurately describe it. It’s so emotionally packed and hits you right where it hurts the most, it pushed all my buttons, poked at mine and many other Muslims folks biggest fears and that was hard. Internment was hard to read. Especially with how introspective it is, it focuses a lot in how the main character feels in the horrible circumstances, her thought process and how she deals with said feelings. Fear, anger and despair are at the forefront of it all so this book can be quite draining, emotionally speaking.

    Internment is set a couple years after the US election and it felt to me like a companion to Love Hate and Other Filters (it’s not) and that Maya would be in that camp as well. As Muslim citizens are first put on strict curfew and made to live an impossible life, and then gathered and shipped off to internment camps, and you know what? This was a pretty accurate representation of today’s society with teenagers leading the rebellion and pushing for change and I don’t think it would have been realistic any other way. I also liked the nuance that went beyond the Us vs. Them dichotomy. How the internees found support in the most unexpected places but were also betrayed by their own keen.

    Like I said before, this book is very introspective, which is understandable. In circumstances where people have their freedom stripped away, are trapped and can’t do much of anything, their thoughts are the only thing they still have so we get a lot of Layla’s reflection and ruminations, her feelings and internal turmoil. That being said, I wish the book dove deeper into the history and politics of internment camps, the oppression, brain-washing, and propaganda that makes them more or less accepted by the masses, giving them a false sense of security. Don’t get me wrong, we do get that, as well as some historical parallels between the current camps and Japanese and Nazi concentration camps during WWII but by the end, it still left me with a sense of lacking, I wanted this book to dig deeper, I felt like it only grazed the surface when it comes to its potential in this regard.

    I love Layla as a main character so much. She’s impulsive and a fool who doesn’t know when to protect herself sometimes but it’s all for the greater good. She’s a smart mouth, strong, resilient and I admired that so much about her. How no matter how bad her situation got, and even when her faith of ever being free again wavered, she still pushed through and refused to give up on herself and her community. Even when said community doesn’t back her up and I think that takes a lot of bravery. She goes through so much in the book and grows a lot, learning when to speak up and when silence is her greatest weapon.

    She strikes up a friendship instantly with Ayesha, another girl at the camp, and it feels like her solace, someone she can laugh with, and cry with, someone she can confide in and who will understand exactly what she’s going through. Ayesha is also her voice of reason sometimes when she goes too far. I loved their friendship so much. Other minor characters appear but this one is the one that stuck with me the most. Then there’s David, Layla’s boyfriend from high school. I loved how supportive he was and how he never gave up on her, not even for one second. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, he often missed the mark and said the wrong things at the wrong time, but he listened and learned. And did his best to help with the means he had.

    Internment is an important story and one I encourage everyone to read if you want a look into the terrifying future that is only a few steps away from the current climate in the US. Because truth be told, this book is closer to reality than it is to dystopia.

  • Saajid Hosein

    Miss Samira came through with the book, but left with my wig.

  • AJ

    There is a lot to love about this book, especially since it focuses on some grim realities for Muslims in our world today, along with the possibility of a pretty grim future for us too.

    I'm mostly rating this 3 stars because I feel like this book didn't push enough, when it should have. For me, it was strongest when the book really dug into the history of interning marginalised people under propaganda and oppressive leadership. Like the parallels Ahmed draws to WWII and Nazi concentration camps

    There is a lot to love about this book, especially since it focuses on some grim realities for Muslims in our world today, along with the possibility of a pretty grim future for us too.

    I'm mostly rating this 3 stars because I feel like this book didn't push enough, when it should have. For me, it was strongest when the book really dug into the history of interning marginalised people under propaganda and oppressive leadership. Like the parallels Ahmed draws to WWII and Nazi concentration camps specifically. Not to even draw direct comparisons, but it does a fantastic job of expressing the true horror that turning a blind eye to oppressive regimes can lead to.

    Unfortunately though, these strong instances were few and far inbetween, which meant a lot of the worldbuilding around Internment felt incomplete. Or I was left with a lot of questions that were never answered.

    I would still highly recommend reading this, but I do think it's lacking in certain areas, despite its strengths.

  • Jenna

    (Scene of barrack homes at Manzanar, a War Relocation Authority Center for citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII, by Dorothea Lange)

    is a timely work of fiction, imagining what could easily happen in an America where people are controlled by fear and prejudice. In an America where Donald Trump is elected president. In an America where people gullibly follow the populist, who rants and raves about building walls and "making America great again".

    Set shortly after the 2016 presidentia

    (Scene of barrack homes at Manzanar, a War Relocation Authority Center for citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII, by Dorothea Lange)

    is a timely work of fiction, imagining what could easily happen in an America where people are controlled by fear and prejudice. In an America where Donald Trump is elected president. In an America where people gullibly follow the populist, who rants and raves about building walls and "making America great again".

    Set shortly after the 2016 presidential election,

    is the story of Layla Amin, a 17 year old Muslim American. In this story, Muslims are rounded up and placed in Manzanar, an internment camp used to house Japanese Americans during WWII. Whilst most people quietly comply, Layla is determined to fight back and demand her freedom as an American citizen.

    This book had much potential, and yet it fell short of my expectations. Like much YA literature, it merely skims the surface of the story. It is not deep enough for my liking, does not delve into the character's minds and psyches. It was just a running stream of teenage dialogue that seemed to drone on and on, and unbelievable characters (especially the director of the camp who was portrayed almost as a cartoon villain). If this had been written as an adult book with more mature-sounding characters, I would probably have liked it a lot more. Perhaps those who love YA fiction will love this book, but it just wasn't my thing.

    Thank you to the author, publisher, and Edelweiss for a DRC of this book. This in no way influenced my review.

  • Lala BooksandLala

    Important topic. Horrifying circumstances. Necessary perspective. Just could have been better as an overall narrative. Fuller review within this video:

  • megs_bookrack

    I wanted so much to love this. It was one of my most anticipated reads for the first part of the year.

    I did not and therefore am crushed.

    One reason I was so excited for this book was the exploration of topics and perspectives that I think are hella important and need to be included in YA and Middle Grade more often.

    This book did touch on many issues salient in today's culture, such as:

    Islamophobia, xenophobia, 'us vs. them' mentality, the politics of fear, the

    I wanted so much to love this. It was one of my most anticipated reads for the first part of the year.

    I did not and therefore am crushed.

    One reason I was so excited for this book was the exploration of topics and perspectives that I think are hella important and need to be included in YA and Middle Grade more often.

    This book did touch on many issues salient in today's culture, such as:

    Islamophobia, xenophobia, 'us vs. them' mentality, the politics of fear, the importance of resistance movements to initiating change, black op sites, disappeared peoples, the illegal detainment of individuals and the abuse/neglect and torture of detainees.

    All of this stuff.

    Yes. Let's see more of it, particularly from those peoples or populations most affected.

    My issue with this was

    . The first 20% was so gripping. The circumstances were terrifying. I was hooked.

    Then it just lost me. Layla, the main character's, fixation on her boyfriend, the storyline involving the guard, Jake, the dialogue.

    Don't get me started on the dialogue.

    In summation, this was a big disappointment for me. I still believe the content is super important and I hope people continue to read and discuss it. Maybe I am in the minority here with this opinion. As I always say, there is a reader for every book! Sadly, this one just didn't work for me.

  • Bang Bang Books

    A two star is harsh-I know but it had to be done.

    Last year I said I was no longer going to say that a writer is bad; I was going to start saying that their writing was not for me. In this case, I'll have to go back on my word and say that I don't think Ahmed is a good writer.

    I thought the idea was good but the execution...YIKES!!!

    Problem #1-The World. It's set in a not so distant alternate universe but Ahmed doesn't explain it; she just assumes the reader will fucking figure it out...um, no. If

    A two star is harsh-I know but it had to be done.

    Last year I said I was no longer going to say that a writer is bad; I was going to start saying that their writing was not for me. In this case, I'll have to go back on my word and say that I don't think Ahmed is a good writer.

    I thought the idea was good but the execution...YIKES!!!

    Problem #1-The World. It's set in a not so distant alternate universe but Ahmed doesn't explain it; she just assumes the reader will fucking figure it out...um, no. If you think about The Handmaid's Tale which is also set in a not so distant alternate universe, Atwood immerses the reader in her world that is far-fetched but it makes you feel like it could really happen. The tone in this book should have been similar but it's all info-dumped in the first couple of pages. Once again, the author seems to assume that the reader is familiar with the Japanese Internment camp and the current child separation issue at the border and doesn't make much of an effort to educate those readers who are unfamiliar. Even if it was a choice to not divulge into history, there was no world building here. You can't create a contemporary topic in an alternate universe and forget to build your world. Ahmed TELLS us that people hate muslims and she TELLS us that people are getting their hijabs ripped off their head and TELLS us that once friends and neighbors are turning on them because of their religion.

    Problem #2-The Characters. Layla, the MC, wasn't a bad character. She made rash terrible mistakes, she thought about her boyfriend A LOT, and she didn't agree with her parent's conforming behavior so she resisted. Layla's problem was that she didn't have a new voice. I've read this girl several times; she brought nothing new to YA. Captain or Corporal Reynolds was too helpful too quickly. Perhaps that was point but that is stupid because his character could have been unreliable which would have made him interesting. The boyfriend was milquetoast and the parents were predictable. You know that friend you have who tells you stories about something that happened and mentions people you don' t know but continues to tell you the story like you know who the hell Brenda is? Well, Ahmed did this. There were several instances where it was supposed to be tense because Noor resisted and was taken away by the guards. Who the hell is Noor and why do I care about her? This happened several times, but this book was so full of tell-not-show that when something did go down the reader was left shrugging. Show us how callus and despicable the guards and the director are; don't just tell us they are dragging people to prison. The director seemed to be some cartoon caricature of Jim Jones from Jonestown and not a believable villain.

    Problem #3-The Words on the Page-This is minor but it bothered me. Right now our reality is Trump and the daily news of his shit and Ahmed mentioned how The State of the Union is now required and congress is required to stand and clap. Um, do teens know what the state of the union is? Were they really paying attention that shit show? Let's assume that the average teen doesn't now what that is and tell them. Many adults don't even know what it is; I just learned what it was last month and I'm old.

    Layla suffered from the teens-don't-talk-like-that syndrome. "Corporal Reynolds is a puzzle with lots of pieces, but half of them are missing. So I can't really see who he is." And "We passed the afternoon in delicious solitude." And "...probably no one is thinking about an appropriately weighty, yet catchy phrase to call our quagmire right now. We're all too busy." WHAT THE HELL?!

    Ahmed had as assload of different metaphors for prison. Yes, they are in an internment camp that feels like a prison; we got it the first five different ways you said it.

    Why do authors write MC who need to be told umpteen times to stop being reckless or bitchy or selfish? Please learn a new way to write growth.

    Authors, please stop making your characters Star Wars or Harry Potter fans in lieu of character development.

    Back to Captain/Corporal Reynolds. He was a guard in the internment camp and there are times when he's called captain then he's called corporal. I'm pretty sure it's an ARC mistake but I think he's a corporal and he has a lot of power. If not not mistaken and I don't think I am because I watch MASH but a corporal is low on the totem pole. Why does Corporal Reynolds have so much power? If I'm wrong about rankings, please correct me.

    Overall, this book has an important theme on Islamophobia but Ahmed didn't do a good job of tell this story. Too much telling and not NEARLY enough showing; the characters were not nuanced and too on-the-nose; there was no tension to an otherwise tense topic. I didn't enjoy anything about this book; that's why it's a one star.

  • Hannah Greendale

    A powerful premise that crumbles under weak execution. According to Ahmed,

    takes place '

    .'* It's a terrifying "What if?" that sees seventeen-year-old Muslim American Layla, and her family, gathered against their will and shipped to an interment camp for Muslims who have been labeled prisoners of war.

    is the word best-used to describe this book. Delivery of ideals and themes is heavy-handed. Everything is blatantly on the nose, spelled out i

    A powerful premise that crumbles under weak execution. According to Ahmed,

    takes place '

    .'* It's a terrifying "What if?" that sees seventeen-year-old Muslim American Layla, and her family, gathered against their will and shipped to an interment camp for Muslims who have been labeled prisoners of war.

    is the word best-used to describe this book. Delivery of ideals and themes is heavy-handed. Everything is blatantly on the nose, spelled out in forceful terms for an audience of readers who, apparently, cannot be trusted to think for themselves.

    doesn't read like a well-defined character exploring complex themes; it reads like an author saying, "Open wi-ide!" and shoving food into baby's mouth.

    Speaking of characters, Layla is not a sympathetic protagonist. She has a grating obsession with her boyfriend, often risking her family's safety just to sneak a few kisses with him. These scenes are always awkward because Layla and her Jewish boyfriend, David, share no chemistry. Her vocabulary is limited and her dialogue, at times, is just plain insulting:

    This is a girl we're supposed to trust to lead the revolution?

    Ahmed's ability to convey emotion is equally limited. Layla's sole means of expressing frustration is to it call her inner turmoil rage and to clench her fists, sometimes going so far as to punch her thigh with her fist. It happens often enough to warrant rolling one's eyes with laughable regularity. Layla's primary foe is the Director, the man who leads the internment camp, and he, too, opts to clench his hands into fists when he's angry, generally followed by slamming his fist on the table. He's such an over-the-top, underdeveloped villain that he comes across as funny rather than scary.

    Which leads to the fundamental problem with

    : It tumbles into the realm of cringe-worthy melodrama so often that it's impossible to take seriously. Scenes intended to be high-action with elevated stakes read like a B-movie script, with Ahmed noting in nearly every instance that the "

    "* and Layla is experiencing everything in slow motion.

    Layla becomes a more rounded character near the midpoint, and she has moments towards the second half of the book when courage and bravery shine through. Unfortunately, the final climax is melodramatic chaos, followed by a hasty buttoning-up of loose ends (though some character motives are never explained).

    's strengths lie within its brief accounts of marginalized persons having been interned subsequent to oppressive leadership (referencing Japanese-Americans in America and Jews in Nazi Germany during World War II). And the Author's Note is both a call to action and a beacon of light.

    All of the hot-button words apply to this book -

    - but tackling this premise requires grit and maturity, gravity and nuance. Sadly,

    offers none of those characteristics, and the result is a book with great potential that ultimately disappoints.

    -

    *Note: All quotes taken from an Advanced Reading Copy.

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    RTC after tonight's liveshow, which is happening at 7pm PST on

    .

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