Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed

1:41 PM


This. Was. Beautiful. And. Painful. 

Internment by Samira Ahmed | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Review also found here at Booked J.

Last year, I so desperately wanted to read Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed, but I just never got around to reading it. At first, I was bummed by this. Today, I'm glad, because that gave me the chance to experience Samira Ahmed's writing for the first time in Internment which is arguably one of the best YA novels of the year.

Deeply moving, heartbreaking and terrifying in a "this-could-be-real" way, Internment tells the story of one girl's abrupt imprisonment and the sparks of rebellion that follow. What makes this story so horrifying is that it is set up in a way that feels realistic. You'll find yourself thinking that this could very well be the future--given our political climate, it sends a chill up your spine and proves to be a very thought-provoking piece of fiction.

There are far too many real-to-life elements to Internment that makes it apparent that this story needed to be told. I'm not going to address everything in the book because it's not my story to tell, or talk over, and what the author has to say is highly realistic. Ahmed addresses many hard-hitting topics in Internment and gives us a startlingly compelling narrator in Layla Amin. What makes this story so breathtaking is Layla and her friends, her family, and their stories.

While the book itself is fiction, it is very prone to tackling (again) those real-life issues. I find that a lot of the complaints towards Internment are petty and unfounded. The villain being too cartoon-ish? I didn't see this. I saw a horrifying villain that relied heavily on racism and hatred. A villain, in other words. What made him so horrifying was because of the subtle way he had conducted himself, and how it came to a boiling point in time.

So, I don't really understand that complaint. That being said, I don't want to spoil the novel for readers because Ahmed tells a story that demands to be heard. And it's very, very important to read it for yourself.

What I will say is (1) everything in this feels painfully real and should be noted because one, two, three, more wrongs moves and the future could be bleak. History is already repeating itself, and it would be foolish to ignore that and not speak up for those who are in the crossfires of hatred and ignorance. (2) these characters, and their stories, are special.

In short, you need to be reading Internment. And we all need to strive to do better. There is no good to be found in standing still and staying silent. Internment is a startling and all-too-real story full of spark, hope and life.

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