What impresses me most is this book’s capability to tackle important, big issues, such as poverty and sexism, in such a simple, comprehensible way.
AMAL UNBOUND, as the synopsis tells you, deals with Amal’s indentured servitude and her the oppression she faces, such as her sudden lack of educational opportunities. And Aisha Saeed delved deep into these topics in a way that middle grade readers can understand.
This book is so, so important.
It’s not a large book, by any means, and the writing is kept simple, so the pace moves nicely along and it would not be unusual to finish this one in one sitting. It is very much character-driven. And speaking of, I really enjoyed Amal’s character. She’s outspoken and strong and opinionated, and having to experience that events of the novel from her point of view was interesting and engaging.
The secondary characters, most notably Amal’s friend Fatima, were delightful and offered their own creative, dynamic flair to the atmosphere, and the friendships explored were realistic and sweet.
I must say I rather like Aisha Saeed’s style, and I’d like to see her flair in YA in WRITTEN IN THE STARS. (On a side note: I can’t believe I haven’t read that one yet? I must proceed to bump this up on the ol’ TBR, and this novel was a welcome reminder of that.)
Also: the cover is absolutely gorgeous. Yes, this is a point that must be addressed, too. More books that feature henna, please? Follow AMAL UNBOUND’s and NOT THE GIRL YOU’RE LOOKING FOR’s example, please, because those covers are so, so pretty.
Huge thanks to Penguin for the pretty ARC!
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