No True Believers

Crown. Feb. 2020. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525644255.
Gr 9 Up–In Lumbard’s debut novel, readers are introduced to Salma Bakkioui, a Muslim teenager who is trying to cope with her best friend moving away. Soon after, there is a bombing nearby and her classmates become hostile toward Salma, her boyfriend, and both of their families. While Salma deals with her bigoted classmates, things get worse when she is questioned by the police about the local bombing. Realizing that she is being framed, she must use her hacking skills to get to the bottom of this crime before it’s too late. During the searches to clear her name, Salma stumbles upon a secret society that might have a connection to this—and future—bombings. Islamophobia is a strong theme throughout the book, from Salma’s classmates making ignorant comments that go ignored by teachers, to her being physically harmed in school. These scenarios are relatable and they may open the eyes of others who are not aware that these are issues many Muslim children and teenagers face regularly.
VERDICT Recommended for readers who want a relatable and realistic portrayal of a Muslim teen with the twists and action of a suspenseful thriller.

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