BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Internment by Samira Ahmed [in Booklist]

Much like the 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent imprisoned during WWII by FDR’s Executive Order 9066, Muslim Americans are rounded up and incarcerated in an alternate, albeit all-too-familiar U.S. following the 2016 presidential election. Seventeen-year-old Layla and her parents are forcibly removed from their Los Angeles home and transported to Mobius, a desert prison near Manzanar (one of 10 Japanese American WWII incarceration camps).

In just 10 minutes, Layla’s family’s civil rights are stripped. She’s torn from her boyfriend, friends, community, everything familiar. Determined to fight for justice, Layla finds surprising allies willing to fight for precious freedom.

Soneela Nankani, who voiced Samira Ahmed’s debut bestseller, Love Hate & Other Filters (2018), returns here in an enhanced production, complete with amplified PA system and bullhorn announcements. Nankani’s chameleonic range adapts affectingly among desperate prisoners, aggressive soldiers, and concerned strangers. With subdued, eerie calm, Nankani’s reading of Ahmed’s author’s note presents as informational insight – and as substantive warning of the ongoing consequences of the toxic racism and xenophobia already rampant today.

Review: “Media,” Booklist, May 15, 2019

Readers: Young Adult

Published: 2019


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