Addendum: After reading Tauriel’s review and the goodreads review they recommended, I have to second guess my initial impression of the book as a person with white privilege. There were a lot of things I did not consider when I wrote my original review, and I would need to reread it again in order to challenge my original thinking. I will definitely be more hesitant to recommend this book in the future.
My original review: Sometime in the not-too-distant future, not only is there a Muslim registry in America, but now all Muslims are being rounded up and forced into detainment camps, regardless of citizenship status. Small-town Missouri girl Sarah-Mary Williams isn’t too worried about it. After all, there must be a good reason for it. She reasons that lots of Muslims are terrorists anyway. Maybe not all, but better safe than sorry, right? It’s not like she’s ever even seen a Muslim, other than the ones whose faces are plastered all over Wanted billboards with rewards for their capture.
Besides, she has bigger things to worry about. Like wondering whether her self-absorbed mom will ever return for her and her little brother, Caleb, or if they’ll be stuck living with their ultra-religious aunt for the rest of their lives. Like attending a strict Baptist school where even as a teenager, she faces spanking if she gets out of line even a little bit. Like figuring out how she can see her best friend with whom she’s been forbidden any contact.
When she and Caleb encounter a Muslim woman, one whose face she has seen on a billboard, Caleb extracts a promise from Sarah-Mary that she will help the woman escape authorities. Despite her misgivings, Sarah-Mary prides herself in her steadfast penchant to keep promises.
As the two embark on a harrowing journey, Sarah-Mary begins to challenge her lifelong assumptions about Muslims, family, and what it means to be an American.