I Am Thunder is one of those books that only comes along every few years. Telling the story of 15 year old Muzna as she is faced with betraying her beliefs or her heart, it gets right under your skin. After Arif, her crush, notices her, Muzna begins to learn more about her faith, choosing to wear a hijab despite her parents’ protests which are mostly due to how she’ll be treated, and skips school to attend meetings with Arif and his brother. Slowly she’s lead down a path which begins to get darker and darker, until one particular incident forces her to realise what’s really going on and what’s happened to her. I don’t know much about the Prevent scheme, but I think this book will be more effective than anything our government is cooking up.
Khan has written a book so affecting that it’s only when Muzna finds out what’s happening to her that the reader finds out, even if you know the story beforehand. It’s terrifying, moving, and one of the best UK debuts of the year.