I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan
Release date: 25.01.2028
Description: Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem is passionate about writing and dreams of becoming a novelist. There’s just one problem – her super-controlling parents have already planned her life out for her:
Step 1) Get educated
Step 2) Qualify as a doctor
Step 3) Marry a cousin from Pakistan. Oh, and boyfriends are totally haram.
No one is more surprised than humble Muzna when high school hottie, Arif Malik, takes an interest in her. But Arif and his brother are angry at the West for demonizing Islam and hiding a terrible secret. As Arif begins to lead Muzna down a dark path, she faces a terrible choice: keep quiet and betray her beliefs, or speak up and betray her heart?
I Am Thunder is the debut novel from stunning YA voice, Muhammad Khan, which questions how far you’ll go to stand up for what you believe.
Muzna is our protagonist within I am Thunder. She is a wonderfully strong voice. She is relatable and inclusive, no matter the background of the reader.
It is powerful to know I’m one of the first people to connect with Muzna and that, come January, all the Muslim and Pakistani girls I teach who have been reading Moxie will be reading this.
I love that even during the events, events that some might argue a weakness in character, she remains strong. She’s the preverbal frog within the slowly boiling pan.
Arif is an interesting and complex character. His charming exterior does disarm you along with Muzna. I want to really like him, but he’s almost too good to be true.
I don’t think I could review without talking about Muzna’s parents. It’s hard to blame them for what happens to Muzna, especially as we only see them from her perspective. It’s clear they care for her, but Muzna is frustrated by their perspective of the world and it’s certainly a problem many teens will relate with.
The plot is empowering and akin to the struggles many people face when it comes to religion. There was even echoes to the journey Malcolm X went through to discover the true meaning of Islam.
Muzna is on a path to spiritual discovery. On the way, she questions the authority of people’s interpretations of the faith and how that makes one a true Muslim.
This is not a question unique to Islam, but it is a topical discourse that perhaps needs an answer.
It’s a brave look into terrorism and Islamaphobia with enough insight to make all people question what is going on in the world.
The writing is wonderfully colloquial. It also integrates Islam’s key phrases without isolating or patronising any potential audience.
The writing gives Muzna a real voice; she’s the path to understanding what young Muslim’s go through in our mixed up world.
This is a MUST read for anyone and everyone.