Naeem is an American-born Muslim, growing up in a small neighborhood in Queens. He is in his senior year and his grades are slipping. One of his good friends Ibrahim sets him up, and Naeem is accused of shoplifting. The police then give him a difficult choice: spy and gather information on Muslim-Americans he knows or get his father’s green card taken and end up in a juvenile facility. This novel is about the prejudice against Muslim-Americans and how Naeem copes with this difficult period in his life. The theme of being watched and talked about secretly is reoccurring in this book. He was brought up in an immigrant neighborhood being watched by cops and cameras.
I think the book had a very serious tone to it, which at times, can make it a bit boring. However, this novel touches on very deep subject matters which are still affecting our world today. I feel like this is a great book because Marina Budhos indirectly speaks her opinion on hatred against Muslims. Overall, Marina Budhos does a great job offering her stance on this issue through this captivating novel.
Although it’s not one specific thing one memorable thing about the book is the reference to being watched. This theme is displayed all throughout the book, from the very first page to the very last.
Reviewed by Atharva, Grade 8, Twin Hickory Library