This book is a disaster of a DNF read. Skip it and read "Internment" by Samira Ahmed instead.
The author creates this world but does nothing to explain how society could have suddenly changed so quickly – this is supposed to happen in the very near future. Nothing in this America makes any sense. Where are the sanctuary cities? The protests? The legal challenges by human rights groups? It is apparent that this whole “registration and bus ‘em” tactic is a new process, not a years-long done deal, so there would definitely be a lot of people out there pushing back against unconstitutional laws like registration based on religion. This world is not convincing; it’s lazy and poorly thought-out.
With all of the racism, Islamophobia, tired and damaging stereotypes, white savior-ing, etc, I just had to DNF this hot mess.
The author tried to defend this book with “But the female Muslim reviewer at Kirkus thought it was great!”
1) Just because one (or a handful of) Muslim(s) thought it was great doesn’t mean that all Muslims will agree.
2) Reading is a highly personal activity. We all think differently and can take away different things from what we read. That is why they say “no two people read the same book”.
The author tried to say that this book wasn't about being Muslim in this future America, but about Islamophobia and seeing through the eyes of an Islamophobe. The thing about that is that we see very little in pop culture that doesn't only cast Muslims as stereotypes - terrorists or victims of oppression - through an Islamophobic lens. Every time I get on Facebook or a news page, etc, all I see is Islamophobic points of view. Quite frankly, we don't need more of that in our fiction.
For a far better book with a similar premise (but written by an actual Muslim woman of color), read "Internment" by Samira Ahmed.