This Book Won’t Burn

Little, Brown. May 2024. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316547840.
Gr 10 Up–Ahmed continues to build a catalog of titles that leverage current events and social justice. Noor’s world shifted when her father abandoned the family. Her mother moved Noor and her sister to a small town far from the bustling city they were used to. Now, Noor is one of only a few Muslim students in a small homogenous town, and her mere presence is news. Even more so when Noor speaks out upon discovering that library books are being pulled from the shelves. Noor’s resonance is a testament to Ahmed’s character-building and timely discourse on the subject. With a sense of predictability, the arc of the story is evenly paced to release maximum outrage and extol lessons in fairness and justice. Intensely invested in Noor’s fight, readers weather the fight alongside her even when it endangers her family. These consequences are devastatingly realistic and heighten the emotional response that mirrors actual coverage of the newsworthy topic. It feels deeply personal, and to writers like Ahmed, the work is ongoing.
VERDICT Ripped from the headlines, Ahmed’s latest novel frames the fight against book banning as a hopeful endeavor in active civic engagement that a wide audience would benefit from reading.

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