I Am Thunder

I Am Thunder

Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem, who dreams of being a writer, struggles with controlling parents who only care about her studying to be a doctor. Forced to move to a new school in South London after her best friend is shamed in a scandal, Muzna realizes that the bullies will follow her wherever she goes. But deciding to stand and face them instead of fighting her instinct t...

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Title:I Am Thunder
Author:Muhammad Khan
Rating:
Edition Language:English

I Am Thunder Reviews

  • Kate (beautifulbookland)

    This book is going to stay with me for a long time. I almost didn’t request it on NetGalley, because, honestly, I usually avoid religion like the plague because it scares the shit out of me - how it can completely brain wash someone.

    Fifteen year old Muzna dreams of being a writer, while her overbearingly pushy parents only care about her becoming a doctor. Her parents control her life, and their family image is everything; so when her best friend is found in a boy’s bed, Muzna is forced

    This book is going to stay with me for a long time. I almost didn’t request it on NetGalley, because, honestly, I usually avoid religion like the plague because it scares the shit out of me - how it can completely brain wash someone.

    Fifteen year old Muzna dreams of being a writer, while her overbearingly pushy parents only care about her becoming a doctor. Her parents control her life, and their family image is everything; so when her best friend is found in a boy’s bed, Muzna is forced to break all ties, and move school. And while her new school has its fair share of bullies, she quickly catches the eye of Arif. As they grow closer, Muzna’s believes are pushed to the extreme, and she is forced to decide between the people she loves and doing what is right.

    I Am Thunder deals with radicalisation

    . Because as you go along with Muzna’s story, there are little warning signs here and there, but it’s only towards the end of the book that you actually realise how far things have gone. It was so subtle, and so easy to get caught up in if you were actually living it. It was fucking terrifying.

    Muzna...dear, dear Muzna. She’s so vulnerable and timid at the beginning of the book, and to see her character development was so incredible. I loved seeing her standing up for herself and what’s right. I was rooting for her, all the time. Even when I wanted to bitch slap her. I loved her relationship with her English teacher, too. It was very sweet.

    Her parents irritated the shit out of me, but I can understand that they only wanted to do what they thought was right (only they forgot the all important part where they actually listened to their daughter).

    I loved the writing! It was so witty, without being forced; sometimes I find books set in England to be super cringe worthy and unrealistic, but the banter and the teenagers were both beautifully British.

    Honestly? This is the sort of book that everyone needs to read. Because while, yes, there’s extremism and terrorism, there are also genuine Muslim’s, who want to live their lives and do everything they can for the world, who want the freedom to practice their faith in peace.

    While this book is about racism, one thing that it does do extremely well is how racism is (or should be) dealt with at that time. I’m not talking about the victim, I’m talking about the bystanders; the people who turn a blind eye to the cruelty around them. The support that Muzna gets from one particular old woman on a bus gave me chills, and, as someone who has never had to deal with racism, it has definitely helped me appreciate the power that support has. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching novel, this is for you.

    *thank you to the publisher for sending me a free e-arc of this book*

  • Suzanne Bhargava

    I’ve been prevaricating about writing this review, because I wanted to do the book justice. It was brilliant. A strong contender for my Carnegie nomination next year.

    As debuts go, I was blown away by the dialogue and narrative voice, which feels fresh and authentic (it was brave genius of Muhammad Khan to use his South London students as beta readers / slang police).

    The story is mainly about Islamophobia, extremism and the balancing act of being a British born Pakistani teenage girl. Woven thr

    I’ve been prevaricating about writing this review, because I wanted to do the book justice. It was brilliant. A strong contender for my Carnegie nomination next year.

    As debuts go, I was blown away by the dialogue and narrative voice, which feels fresh and authentic (it was brave genius of Muhammad Khan to use his South London students as beta readers / slang police).

    The story is mainly about Islamophobia, extremism and the balancing act of being a British born Pakistani teenage girl. Woven through these main parts are issues of body image, self esteem, family pressures, slut shaming, falling in love, bullying, the varied ways of being a Muslim, grooming, catfishing, and radicalisation. It’s a lot, but it works.

    And the story, like real life, is full of grey areas - a big one is how Arif (the gorgeous love interest) pulls Muzna into extremist views using the truth - in the mainstream media, when a black man kills people he’s a gangbanger, when a brown man kills people he’s a terrorist, and when a white man kills people he is a lone wolf with mental health issues. And when hundreds of Asians are killed in an attack, it doesn’t make front page news. All these things are true, but your heart breaks for Muzna as you see where her anger could lead her.

    But she is a strong, smart, albeit vulnerable young woman, so the reader holds out hope for her that she will do the right thing.

  • Usman

    Witty, smart and clever. I had heard a lot about this book and was a bit worried it would not live up to its hype. It is even more amazing. The main character is detailed and very relatable. She explores her faith and her identity in a very realistic way. She reminded me of my younger sister who is reading the book and will post her own review in time. The reader sees events and experiences shape Muzna in real time. When things start to go wrong she has no one to turn to. This is the strength of

    Witty, smart and clever. I had heard a lot about this book and was a bit worried it would not live up to its hype. It is even more amazing. The main character is detailed and very relatable. She explores her faith and her identity in a very realistic way. She reminded me of my younger sister who is reading the book and will post her own review in time. The reader sees events and experiences shape Muzna in real time. When things start to go wrong she has no one to turn to. This is the strength of the book and a powerful warning. Thanks to the media frenzy around Islam and terrorism Muzna doesn't know who to trust anymore.

    The book manages to squeeze in a lot of topics including racism, radicalization, living in a multi-ethnic multi-faith society, open dialogue between teenagers and their parents, and doing the right thing. I am Thunder is my top read of 2018. It will be tough to top.

  • Marie Andrews

    I Am Thunder follows the story of 15 year old Muzna, an ordinary Muslim-teen, trying to fit into a new high school in London. Her strict Pakistani parents want only the best for her - urging her to become a Dr, even though Muzna dreams of becoming an author, especially so she can represent Muslim voices in writing. Whilst trying to settle into the new school environment, she becomes friends with Arif, and it is this relationship, along with his brother, Jameel, that Muzna starts to question. Sho

    I Am Thunder follows the story of 15 year old Muzna, an ordinary Muslim-teen, trying to fit into a new high school in London. Her strict Pakistani parents want only the best for her - urging her to become a Dr, even though Muzna dreams of becoming an author, especially so she can represent Muslim voices in writing. Whilst trying to settle into the new school environment, she becomes friends with Arif, and it is this relationship, along with his brother, Jameel, that Muzna starts to question. Should she follow her head or her heart?

    This book. Just WOW. I have read a lot of YA books over the years and this is definitely up there with the very very best. Muzna is a breath of fresh air - her intelligence and personality is apparent from the very first page. This book shows the struggles of an everyday Muslim teenager and it's fantastic that voices like this are finally being heard. This book covers very important issues such as Islamophobia, terrorism, extremism and bullying, yet all of these are covered in a powerful, yet sensitive manner. You can't have a YA book without friendships and relationships and I think that's what makes this book so great - it really does have a brilliant mix on everything I could dream for in a book. Muzna deals with normal teen problems as well, such as body-issues, parent relationships, grades and changing friendships, and it is this what allows us to connect so well with her as a character. This is a MUST read and a great asset to the YA book industry.

    I predict huge success for I Am Thunder and can't recommend it enough! One of my favourite YA books ever!

    Review also on my blog:

  • Sarah

    Sometimes I feel like YA novels are a little reserved when it comes to talking about serious issues. I'm not sure why, maybe the author hasn't fully committed to the idea, maybe they don't think YA readers could handle it or maybe they are afraid to write something that could end up being a little controversial. But when I read those books that are afraid to really talk about an issue, it just kind of skits around the issue and the book often ends up being forgettable, one-dimensional and just v

    Sometimes I feel like YA novels are a little reserved when it comes to talking about serious issues. I'm not sure why, maybe the author hasn't fully committed to the idea, maybe they don't think YA readers could handle it or maybe they are afraid to write something that could end up being a little controversial. But when I read those books that are afraid to really talk about an issue, it just kind of skits around the issue and the book often ends up being forgettable, one-dimensional and just vapid. This book was not one of those books and so it ended up being something quite powerful and striking, while also being an enjoyable read and it did not feel preachy at all. Khan really didn't hold back while talking about massive issues like racism, islamophobia and radical terrorists.

    I think what really helped the novel was Muzna. Apart from being an awesome characters who was so funny, smart, three-dimensional and caring, she had some great character development. From the start of the book to the end of the book, she goes through things that mature her and change her. She is just trying to find herself, like any other teenager and it was hard to see her struggle with what she wanted vs what her family wanted for her and struggle with people bullying her just because she was a Muslim. I certainly don't understand why people can be so prejudiced, ignorant and horrible to people just because of where they come from, what religion they are or what colour their skin is. I did really enjoy how Muzna wrote about being an immigrant family's daughter. Her family expected her to be "proper" like a Pakistani girl but Muzna thought that it was unfair because she had been brought up in Britain with British traditions and British people all around her. She considered herself to be British and she was but her family just couldn't understand her.

    The writing was good. Muzna did sound like a teenage girl so that really made the novel believable. The writing was simple but I really enjoyed reading it. I especially liked the dedication at the start of the book.

    I would definitely recommend this and I would read more by Muhammad Khan.

    * I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “I wrote Muzna’s story for you. Muslim or non-Muslim? It doesn’t matter to me. It shouldn’t matter to you. You are thunder. Don’t keep quiet.”

    “‘The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any’ Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author.”

    “It was cruel to bring me up in Britain, make me go to school with British kids, then expect me to act like a girl from back home. Outside of having brown skin, speaking the language, and half-heartedly cheering the cricket team on with Dad, I had no real idea of what it meant to be Pakistani.”

  • Erin

    Fellow bookworms, keep your eyes peeled for this book on January 25th. Set in present day Britain, Muhammed Khan explores the racism and discrimination of the Muslim population in England(and the Western world) while also bringing the topic of the recruitment tactics of some extremist groups . His protagonist is a teenage girl by the name of Muzna Saleem. An only child, Muzna's future is filled with plenty of expectations from her parents, immigrants from Pakistan. All Muzna wants is to be a wri

    Fellow bookworms, keep your eyes peeled for this book on January 25th. Set in present day Britain, Muhammed Khan explores the racism and discrimination of the Muslim population in England(and the Western world) while also bringing the topic of the recruitment tactics of some extremist groups . His protagonist is a teenage girl by the name of Muzna Saleem. An only child, Muzna's future is filled with plenty of expectations from her parents, immigrants from Pakistan. All Muzna wants is to be a writer, to create books with strong Muslim characters, so that the racism that she deals with on a daily basis will become something of the past. On the other hand, her parents desire her to become a doctor. Although Muzna's parents do want their daughter to obtain a strong education, they fear the effects of living in a society and culture so different than their origin country. We see Muzna 's parents very concerned about the friends that Muzna makes. When a female friend gets herself in trouble and Muzna's father loses his job, the family move to another area and a new school. It is here that Muzna catches the eye of a good looking young man, Arif. As Muzna and Arif grow closer, Muzna begins to question everyone around her, including her parents.

    I absolutely devoured this book and I loved the strong character that Muzna embodies. When a favorite teacher is wrongly accused, Muzna sets about to lead the school body on a campaign to reinstate him. Muzna is the very character that she wants to write about in her books. When Muzna meets Arif, we see that it is only gradually that Muzna is being led towards extremism. Early in the novel, Muzna is ridiculed for the way that she looks and Arif's kind manner is a breath of fresh air. Especially in a new school.

    Muhammed Khan was determined to show how young people(specifically, girls) are being recruited into joining extremist groups.What we can see as a reader, is that Muzna is on the outs with her parents, she is aware and speaks up regarding the racism she sees towards Muslims. But as many friends and adults begin to point out to her, Muzna does not see the pull that Arif and his older brother begin to have on her. What begins as curiosity to explore her religion, soon becomes an isolation from those around her. But I loved that through it all when these things were happening, Muzna has those little whispers of doubt. We see that as strong as she is, Muzna is also vulnerable.

    As a teacher reading this book, written by a teacher that is trying to explore his own questions about how these things happen, "I am Thunder" and its main character, Muzna deeply moved me and scared me too. Our children are so vulnerable in the internet age. Books like this will hopefully encourages us to "not keep quiet." I don't want to jinx it, but I felt that this book is definitely on par with "The Hate U Give. " It certainly deserves our attention.

  • Aditi

    ----Samira Ahmed

    Muhammad Khan, a British author, has penned a very intriguing debut YA novel called,

    that revolves around a teenage Muslim girl living with her parents in Britain where everyday she wakes up to find a new challenge or bully to overcome with, but her life drastically changes when

    ----Samira Ahmed

    Muhammad Khan, a British author, has penned a very intriguing debut YA novel called,

    that revolves around a teenage Muslim girl living with her parents in Britain where everyday she wakes up to find a new challenge or bully to overcome with, but her life drastically changes when her family moves to different part of the city and she is admitted to a posh school, and there she meets a charming Muslim boy. Little did she knew that behind that charming smile, a sinister motive is awaiting for her and that would not only ruin her life but would ruin the lives of millions of souls, if not taken care of.

    Muzna has forever embraced and accepted bullying and judgement on her looks and dressing sense among her peers, but when she moves to South London along with her family and gets admitted to a posh school, she realizes that its high time to stand up against bullying since she is now prohibited to talk to her bestie who was involved in a shameful act. And when she meets the most good looking boy of her class, named, Arif, she realizes for the first time that she too has a chance in love and more than that. Little did she knew that the innocent looking boy who lives with his radical and religious extremist brother named Jameel, would manipulate her in the name of Allah. And she needs to not only save herself but a million other lives, before its too late. But can she, when she is head-over-heels in love with Arif?

    The author's writing style is fresh and is laced with humor, suspense and drama. The dialogues are realistic and the author have vividly portrayed the voice of a 15-year old Muslim girl in Britain, so much so, that the readers will be able to easily contemplate with the modern day language used by the youngsters. The pacing is really fast, as the readers will be instantly sucked into the flow of the story and the action, and will keep them glued till the very end.

    The characters in this book are very well developed with enough honesty in the demeanor. The main character, Muzna, is an extraordinary young girl, who is pushed into a world full of challenges, nasty remarks about her facial hair, and constant bullying, yet she gradually picks herself up with the help of a friend, who in the end uses her for his own sinister purposes. Although the story is based mainly upon religious extremists ideals and its flaws, yet somehow, it felt like most of the time, the author tried to shed light of the cheesy romance between Arif and Muzna and the climax is way too dramatic.

    In a nutshell, its a solid and engrossing book about modern day challenges and religious issues that is faced by almost every other Muslim in a foreign country.

  • ilsa ➹

    So I've been slowly edging this rating down as I think more and more about this book. At first I thought I really loved it but the more that I think about the more I realise how cringey and disgusting this was. I'm just thinking if someone read this book, they'd really think Muslims were messed up. So updated thoughts.

    1) No spoilers but... i'm gonna put it in spoiler tags but it's not actually a spoiler

    So I've been slowly edging this rating down as I think more and more about this book. At first I thought I really loved it but the more that I think about the more I realise how cringey and disgusting this was. I'm just thinking if someone read this book, they'd really think Muslims were messed up. So updated thoughts.

    1) No spoilers but... i'm gonna put it in spoiler tags but it's not actually a spoiler

    2) Muzna was realistic but she did really annoy me at times. The whole facial hair situation was handled really badly in my opinion and again, the way everything was written didn't go well with me at all.

    3) I did initially ignore the cringe, but it really was cringe. The way the slang was written in books, sure may be an accurate depiction of real life, but I really didn't like it. I just hate slang in books, generally

    4) the hijab is something that is forced onto Muzna and while this might happen in real life she kind of just puts it on and the book is so rushed this is NOT touched upon at all. wearing the hijab comes with SO much responsibility but Muzna doesn't even face those struggles? Sorry but that's just acting like you can put on the hijab and feel exactly the same which is NOT true

    5) The writing really wasn't spectacular. It's written very informally like and It just didn't appeal to me.A lot of it was very stereotypical and while the whole "radicalisation" story was intriguing Jameel and her mother and MUzna and Arif were walking stereotypes

    3 stars. I am so conflicted about this book because I originally loved it and now I'm just like... "Uhhh that was really messed up and...not in a good way" so i don't recommend this book it really isn't good, even though i initially loved it?? hmmm?

    There’s a lot to unpack in this review so buckle up!

    It was an amazing, eye-opening experience and it was something I will never forget. For once, I didn’t feel out-of-place and we could discuss the real problems of

    How publishers excluded so many just because they already had one black author already so they couldn’t possibly have another one. They’d already filled the quota. How publishers don’t think there’s a market for “diverse” books so it’s so hard for us to get published and tell our stories. How we have no time for representation that’s outside of the books because it doesn't count.

    Now, I managed to get a copy of I am Thunder at this event, and luckily get it signed by the author himself, Muhammad Khan. On the panel, Khan had explained how he had been a teacher of many Muslim girls and how he saw them be victims of Islamophobia. Khan explained how this story came into being, how important and uplifting it was so I was incredibly excited to read.

    There’s so much pressure to get it right, to tell the stories of so many people in just...one book. To justify a whole minority. He talked about how hard this, how scary it can be to know that people are going to read your book and criticize you for representation.

    So, when reading this book, I let Khan’s words stay with me. And I realised what an amazing, important book this.

    Please, get this from the library, purchase a copy even the e-book, you will not regret it. I need people to read this book because it’s so eye-opening. And It’s a story that needs to be told.

    I am Thunder is about a girl called Muzna.

    (IT ME!!!) and with her dad losing her job, her moving schools, catching the eye of a boy called Arif and facing the struggles of Islamophobia, I am Thunder was a poignant novel.

    I am running my hands through my hair right now because I have absolutely no idea where to start? What about our main character, Muzna?

    Her parents want her to be a doctor but she loves writing. This is just so relatable. While my parents don’t want me to be a doctor, I’m pretty sure there’s always a pressure to like Science.

    I really loved Muzna. I hated her sometimes when she was with Arif. She was completely and utterly obsessed with him and it annoyed me. BUT so much character development.

    It’s so heartbreaking. So. Freaking. Heartbreaking. She starts to believe that all non-believers are horrible and evil. She starts to believe she needs to kill non-believers. She starts to believe in terrorism.

    She

    killing and murdering is wrong but Arif’s brother, Jameel, keeps telling her about Allah and twisting the Quran and she doesn't know what to do. She loves Arif, she wants to be a good Muslim but everything Jameel’s telling her is scaring her and question everything she’s ever believed in. Then there’s her parents and her friends and teachers trying to tell her that something is wrong and she’s stuck in the middle of it all and the story unfolds

    I can’t give too much away because of spoilers but I will say when Muzna is being radicalised so many of the things her and Arif and Jameel said made me shake with anger. How could they say such horrible things? How could she even believe them?

    At one point, Jameel’s like to Muzna “why are you reading fiction books?” LIKE READING FICTION BOOKS IS FORBIDDEN. And ugh, so many other things like" we should kill all non-believers" INFURIATED ME and

    In fact, horrible doesn't even COVER it.

    One part I was super annoyed and creeped out by was

    I think Arif was a very complex character. On the one hand, he’s been abused by his uncle and he’s also been radicalised for years. So I can’t really judge him as a character because it wasn’t really him. But I did like the boy underneath that, albeit too perfect I admit.

    I get why Muzna likes him, I guess? He's handsome and smart! Whoo but I did not ship it and I think that's just me because I hate romances

    I think they did fit a bit of stereotype but I think that’s okay because stereotypes came from somewhere. They were super strict, had this whole idea of Muzna being a doctor, being a “good Pakistani girl” and yeah?? I basically hate them...OOPS.But they were written well!

    Now Muzna is not a hijabi but during the time she meets Arif, she basically gets forced into it, nicely, but by her love interest. First, this is wrong? And stupid?

    I love how afterwards, she’s proud of her hijab but the way she started wearing it was stupid because Arif just pressured her into it? Also, wearing a hijab is a huge thing but in the novel, she gets used to it so easily and she doesn't feel awkward about it at all? Hmm, maybe Muzna is just a really strong person.

    While not everything could be discussed in this book, I think it was so realistic and awesome and I’m so glad I read this.

    There’s a scene on a bus where two women begin throwing comments at her due to recent near-terrorist-attack and Muhammad Khan wrote that scene so perfectly and realistically, I just wanted to stand up and applaud.

    Religion is between you and God and no one else. There was also black Muslims!! Latifah was great and I loved her so much. I wish she got so much more focus in the novel because she was so inspirational and great? And she doesn't wear the hijab but it doesn't matter!

    The writing was easy to read. It’s Muzna’s internal monologue and it’s really good.

    , what it is like being radicalised, and what it’s like living as a British Muslim. But I have to admit some parts were super cringey and unrealistic! I get what Khan was trying to do

    But whatever! I’m willing to excuse the cringe.

    I mean take this from the book.

    Muhammad Khan didn’t hold back. He told a story that needs to be read by everyone. I had so many emotions whilst reading this but overall I can say this is not a perfect, dazzling, amazing novel. It’s depressing and uplifting at the same time. It’s about terrorism and Islamophobia and it hurt with how much I related.

    GO READ THIS BOOK NOW!

  • may ❀

    book #8 done for the booktubeathon ✔ (i guess i keep going until the day is finish 😏)

    pull up a chair bc I got some tea to spill and some roasts to serve

    honestly I wasn’t actually planning on writing a review for this bc I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t want to spend anymore time with it but there are SO MANY things that really made me uncomfortable and I cant just NOT talk about it

    due to the fact that I am

    I feel the need to balance out my salt with sugar and so here are some positives

    book #8 done for the booktubeathon ✔️ (i guess i keep going until the day is finish 😏)

    pull up a chair bc I got some tea to spill and some roasts to serve

    honestly I wasn’t actually planning on writing a review for this bc I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t want to spend anymore time with it but there are SO MANY things that really made me uncomfortable and I cant just NOT talk about it

    due to the fact that I am

    I feel the need to balance out my salt with sugar and so here are some positives aspects about the book

    there gonna be

    kids, sorry i cant get away from this

    And now,,,,,,im going to get into the bad stuff

    There are A LOT of stereotypes present and while I cant go into all of them, I didn’t feel like this was a good rep for muslims especially not muslim girls growing up in the west, it really missed the mark for me wow im sorry @ expectations

    Okay blah blah this is my opinion, disclaimer disclaimer, don’t come @ me, respect opinions and be a good person thanks

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