Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Amal Unbound

Amal-UnboundAmal Unbound (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018) by Aisha Saeed is SO Good! I’d been hearing a lot about this New York Times bestseller and am really glad I’ve now read it.
Twelve-year-old Amal loves school, but now she has to stay home and watch her little sisters while her mother recovers from the birth of another baby. Amal wants to be a teacher herself someday, so missing this much school is worrying. Her dreams are shattered one day when she is rude to the wrong man–a member of the ruling family in their Pakistani village. For her effrontery, she is taken away from home to be Jawad Sahib’s servant. How can she survive the intrigue among the Khan’s servants? Will she ever be allowed to return home?
This book would make a fantastic movie. As my previous recommendation, I wish kids all over America could read it.
Previously, I’ve recommended Aisha’s YA novel, Written in the Stars. You can read about it here.
I love this list of Fourteen Things about the author.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Written in the Stars

Written_in_the_StarsWritten in the Stars (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015) by Aisha Saeed is a heartbreaking story that needs to be told (and read). It’s natural for teens and parents to be in strife at some level, but in this story author Aisha Saeed casts the light on parent/daughter strife that has crossed into abuse when girls are forced into marriage.
Here’s a brief introduction to the novel:
Naila in some ways is a typical American high school girl. In other ways she’s living the culture her Pakistani immigrant parents order. She thinks her parents will understand her love for Saif if they just meet him. But she can’t tell them about him as she isn’t supposed to be dating. And now that’s she’s gotten an acceptance letter to college her parents are debating about whether she can even go. Disaster strikes when she and her best friend Carla cook up a plan that lets Naila go to prom with Saif . . . and her parents find out. Not only is Naila not allowed to graduate with her peers, her parents whisk the family to Pakistan for a “visit.” Well, they’ll be visiting. Naila will be forced to marry a Pakistani man and make it her home.
The book was listed as a best book of 2015 by Bank Street Books, a 2016 YALSA Quick Pick For Reluctant Readers, and was named one of the top ten books all Young Georgians Should Read 2016. (I’d like to see every teen read it!)
Aisha Saeed is a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™. She’s also an example of a happy arranged marriage. Read more about her on her website.