Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2019
I promised myself this time would be different.
I would stand up for myself.
Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem is used to being invisible. So no one is more surprised than her when Arif Malik, the hottest boy in school, takes a sudden interest.
But Arif is hiding a terrible secret and, as they begin to follow a dark path, Muzna faces an impossible choice: keep quiet and betray her beliefs, or speak out and betray her heart.
I Am Thunder is the debut novel from stunning YA voice, Muhammad Khan, which questions how far you'll go to stand up for what you believe.
On paper, this sounds like a gritty “issues” book and, yes, such subjects as Islamaphobia and terrorism are intrinsic to the plot. Yet it’s testament to Khan’s skill as a writer that this is an uplifting, empowering novel with hope at its heart. Drawing on his experience as a teacher, he has a real ear for dialogue, fresh, funny and colloquial, making his teenagers real and relatable. However, it is the rooting of the narrative in Muzna’s coming-of-age that is the masterstroke. She’s a warm, vulnerable, complex heroine, and while her experiences offer a much-needed perspective on growing up as a Muslim teenager, her search for identity is a universal one. Fiona Noble for The Guardian.