Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Hollow Fires

Author: Samira Ahmed

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Iraqi American Muslim character, Desi American Muslim MC, Muslim characters, Queer characters, Jewish character, Pakistani Muslim character

Recommended For…: young adult readers, mystery, contemporary, thriller, race, white supremacy

Publication Date: May 10, 2022

Genre: YA Thriller Mystery

Age Relevance: 14+ (death, kidnapping, murder, violence, gore, rape, terrorism, racism, bullying, micro aggressions, white supremacy, police brutality, antisemitism, sexism, islamaphobia, religion, language, climate change)

Explanation of Above: The book involves death and a murder of an Iraqi American child. Kidnapping is mentioned, violence is shown with fights and mentioned in various ways, and gore is briefly shown and mentioned in the form of vomit and blood. The word rape is used in the book, but nothing like that happens. It’s just a thought of what might have happened. There are a lot of tough subjects that are covered in the book, including a lot of racism and micro aggressions, extreme islamaphobia, terrorism and hate crimes committed by white people, and white supremacy shown and dog whistles mentioned. There are also instances of Donald Trump being quoted in the text. There is some showing of police brutality against Muslim characters and there are mentions of antisemitism and sexism. The Islamic religion is shown in this book and the book beautifully describes some of the practices and customs of the religion. There is minimal cursing in the read. There is one mention of climate change.

Publisher: Little, Brown

Pages: 416

Synopsis: A powerful, gripping YA novel about the insidious nature of racism, the terrible costs of unearthing hidden truths, and the undeniable power of hope, by New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed. Perfect for fans of Sadie and Dear Martin.

Safiya Mirza dreams of becoming a journalist. And one thing she’s learned as editor of her school newspaper is that a journalist’s job is to find the facts and not let personal biases affect the story. But all that changes the day she finds the body of a murdered boy.

Jawad Ali was fourteen years old when he built a cosplay jetpack that a teacher mistook for a bomb. A jetpack that got him arrested, labeled a terrorist—and eventually killed. But he’s more than a dead body, and more than “Bomb Boy.” He was a person with a life worth remembering.

Driven by Jawad’s haunting voice guiding her throughout her investigation, Safiya seeks to tell the whole truth about the murdered boy and those who killed him because of their hate-based beliefs.

This gripping and powerful book uses an innovative format and lyrical prose to expose the evil that exists in front of us, and the silent complicity of the privileged who create alternative facts to bend the truth to their liking.

Review: I absolutely loved this work. It made me both sad and angry, but gave me strength to fight for a better tomorrow for my BIPOC friends. The book discusses injustice in the legal system and corruption/injustice in the education system at length. The more and more the book went on, the more my heart broke. I wanted to punch so many people in this book because of the hurt they inflicted on so many children due to the adults racist agendas. The book is very raw and it demands that you listen and it does so good to show how white supremacists and lazy attitudes toward racist behavior have led to a huge issue in society today, especially in America. The book also did good to juxtapose famous quotes that alt-right politicians and others, one specifically being Donald Trump, have said to what the truth actually is. The character development was well done, the world building was superb, and I could just go on and on and on about every aspect of this book and how we should be dissecting it for study on how well it describes the increasing attitudes of today’s world. This book should definitely be taught in Literature or Social Studies classes.

The only tiny issue I had with the book is that because it’s in mixed media format and told in a flashback manner sometimes that it’s sometimes hard to remember which is the past and which is the present due to both of those times only being a year apart.

Verdict: I highly recommend you read this book so we can learn what behaviors we need to look for to protect children from the dangers of white supremacy and the alt-right.

Book Info:

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

Genre: Young Adult Mystery Thriller

Publishing Date: May 10, 2022

Synopsis:

A powerful, gripping YA novel about the insidious nature of racism, the terrible costs of unearthing hidden truths, and the undeniable power of hope, by New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed. Perfect for fans of Sadie and Dear Martin.

Safiya Mirza dreams of becoming a journalist. And one thing she’s learned as editor of her school newspaper is that a journalist’s job is to find the facts and not let personal biases affect the story. But all that changes the day she finds the body of a murdered boy.

Jawad Ali was fourteen years old when he built a cosplay jetpack that a teacher mistook for a bomb. A jetpack that got him arrested, labeled a terrorist—and eventually killed. But he’s more than a dead body, and more than “Bomb Boy.” He was a person with a life worth remembering.

Driven by Jawad’s haunting voice guiding her throughout her investigation, Safiya seeks to tell the whole truth about the murdered boy and those who killed him because of their hate-based beliefs.

This gripping and powerful book uses an innovative format and lyrical prose to expose the evil that exists in front of us, and the silent complicity of the privileged who create alternative facts to bend the truth to their liking.

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58511505-hollow-fires

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316282642/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sin_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hollow-fires-samira-ahmed/1140137040?ean=9780316282642

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Hollow-Fires-Samira-Ahmed/9780316282642?ref=grid-view&qid=1646255635566&sr=1-1

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/hollow-fires/9780316282642-item.html?ikwid=hollow+fires&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0#algoliaQueryId=d045818e451cb3c6e8f6d164886865c1 IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316282642

About the Author:

Samira Ahmed is the bestselling author of Love, Hate & Other FiltersInternmentMad, Bad & Dangerous to Know, and  Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds, as well as a Ms. Marvel comic book mini-series.  Her poetry, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies including the New York TimesTake the MicColor Outside the LinesVampires Never Get Old and A Universe of Wishes.

She was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in Batavia, Illinois, in a house that smelled like fried onions, spices, and potpourri. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Samira has taught high school English in both the suburbs of Chicago and New York City, worked in education non-profits, and spent time on the road for political campaigns.

Samira currently lives in the Midwest. When she’s not reading or writing, she can be found on her lifelong quest for the perfect pastry.

Author Links:                                            

Website: https://samiraahmed.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sam_aye_ahm

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sam_aye_ahm/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8345582.Samira_Ahmed

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