I Am Thunder

I Am Thunder

I Am Thunder
Muhammad Khan

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509874057

'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. 'An uplifting, empowering novel with hope at its heart' Observer Children's Book of the Week 'Funny and clever - a perspective long overdue in British fiction' Alex Wheatle, Guardian prize-winning author of Crongton Knights 'This one is special . . . punches well above the weight of most debuts' The Times 'This assured, hopeful debut feels unprecedented and essential' Guardian 'One of the most distinctive narrators I've read in ages.' Fiona Noble, Bookseller

Librarian's Book choice

Religious extremism and radicalisation. Alan Gibbons deals with it in The Trap (terrorism, heroism and everything in between), he shows us how easy it is for an intelligent young man to be manipulated and something of the racism and islamophobia young British Asians face. And here, in I Am Thunder, Muhammad Khan tackles it; to be fair he doesn't just tackle it he knocks it to the ground. This is a thumper of a read. Muzna's voice is of the moment, she's 15 years old, living in London. On the threshold of adulthood she's finding her identity, encountering love, understanding friendships, trying to do well at school, balancing her parents' expectations and those of the Pakistani community with her own. She sounds familiar, and that's the point. She is plausible. Muzna is British, she is Pakistani, she is Muslim, she's a daughter, she';s a friend and she's a teenager. But before all of these she is Muzna Saleem. Why does 'the perfect student, open-minded and inquisitive' end up skipping school to attend meetings in the company of a boy (risking her reputation in the Pakistani community) where the preaching inciting hate is increasingly at odds with Muzna's own understanding of Islam? What are the choices that led to that path? With I Am Thunder, Muhammad Khan has navigated that path brilliantly. Being Muslim means different things to different people and Muzna was exceptional company as we walked in her footsteps. I Am Thunder: read it, talk about it, recommend it! 352 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Catherine Purcell, school librarian.