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 to disappear is harder than it looks when there’s prejudice everywhere you turn. Until the gorgeous and confident Arif shows an interest in her, encouraging Muzna to explore her freedom.
But Arif is hiding his own secrets and, along with his brother Jameel, he begins to influence Muzna with their extreme view of the world. As her new freedom starts to disappear, Muzna is forced to question everything around her and make a terrible choice – keep quiet and betray herself, or speak out and betray her heart?
I received this book from the publishers via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
I am giving I am Thunder 3.5 stars. It’s incredibly powerful and honest, but I didn’t love it the way I wanted to.
I did love Muzna’s character and all the things she struggles with – being a bigger girl, facial hair, racism, overbearing parents, religion, all of it felt so real. Her relationship with her parents just broke my heart a little and I would have loved to have seen more of them at the end, after everything – having loads of open conversations, and how different it hopefully was.
I did consider 4 stars because it’s so well written (and it’s nice to see teenagers talking like teenagers lol!) and open about so maybe issues. And I really loved the scene on the bus, and Sade, showing a glimpse of the racism people can face.
My niggles were around how quickly Arif sort of changes in line with his brother, and how stern his brother is not putting Muzna off, though I do get that. Also that the beginning felt really dragged out. I get that it’s all relevant in the end, but it doesn’t feel it for most of the book.