Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.
I honestly had no idea what to expect when I received this book, and while I love middle grade reads I feel like this book is important and everyone should read it, no matter your age.
This story follows Amal, a twelve year old girl living in Pakistan who’s only dream in life is to become a teacher. She loves going to school and she loves learning about everything. She loves her family and her sisters. One day, her mother falls ill after giving birth to a new baby girl. Following this event, Amal has to leave school in order to take care of her younger siblings and run the household. Being the oldest child isn’t easy, and she gives up her dreams in order to help her family.
This really hit home for me, because there are many of us who take school for granted. We wake up everyday and go to school, but we never think about the individuals who may never get a chance to sit in a classroom, or learn to read. I really think this book shows us that we should learn to appreciate things like school and family a little more, because we never know when it will be taken from us.
Throughout the book we learn about the corrupt “landlord” of Amal’s village, and how feared he is. One day Amal goes to the market and unwittingly disrespects him, and in return she is taken from her family and is forced to live life as a servant at his estate to pay back the debts her family owes. Throughout her days as a servant, she inadvertently becomes an enemy of another servant girl who is constantly setting her up to get into trouble. Not only is this on Amals mind, but she is also in the middle of dealing with the Khan family and their suspicious activity. Only then does she realize that she has to work with her fellow servants to take down the most feared man in the village to achieve her dreams.
Once again, this book really hit home for me for multiple reasons. One, as stated above. We take advantage of the fact that education is at the tips of our fingers when there are people who may never get to sit in a classroom. Two, indentured servitude is still a prevalent issue in our world today. Amal is forced to work off her family debts, and in reality there are people out there in our world who may be dealing with worse situations.
This book shows us that the universe may drag you down and you may have to put your dreams on hold, but also lets us know that it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in and it’s okay to be brave even if you’re scared. This book was definitely meant for all the girls out there who want to achieve their dreams, and this book lets them know that it’s possible.
I gave this book 5/5 stars. It was an easy read and I absolutely loved it. It definitely has many valuable lessons for middle grade readers and adults alike. I also loved that this book is own voices, written by a Pakistani-American author!
This book was released on May 8, 2018, and I urge you to go to your local bookstore and pick it up!