Saturday, June 23, 2018

Book Review: I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

Title: I Am Thunder
Author: Muhammad Khan
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Muhammad Khan’s ‘I Am Thunder’ is the story of Muzna, a Muslim teenager who is struggling to find her place in the world whilst trying to balance her religion, culture, and keeping her parents happy. She is a warm, vulnerable, complex character and her search for identity is a universal one.
As the story progresses we see how some unforeseen events force her to move to a new school in South London. There she meets the charismatic Arif Malik. She is surprised to realize that he is interested in her and chooses to ask her out despite interest in him from several other girls at school. A friendship builds between the two and Arif encourages Muzna to explore her freedom.

Muzna’s happiness, however, is short lived and her delight wavers when she discovers how Arif, influenced by his manipulative brother Jameel, has become angered by Western culture. He gradually lures her into a world of Muslim extremism. He tries to radicalize Muzna by telling her his anti-Western views. Muzna realizes she is getting into something dangerous but fears taking a stand could mean losing Arif.

Through his debut novel, Khan raises questions on some issues that are very relevant in today’s society. He talks of terrorism and Islamophobia via his 15-year-old protagonist. His writing also deals with issues relating to living in the West while having conservative, immigrant parents. It is evident that Khan draws on his experience or that of those whom he teaches to unpack many of the West’s perceptions of Islam.

To sum up, while reading this book, readers will be able to relate with Muzna on several levels and, without trying, learn.

A timely YA debut whose salience and poignancy will be appreciated on many levels.

Muhammad Khan is a maths teacher in a secondary school in Tooting and takes his inspiration from the children he teaches, as well as his own upbringing as a British-born Pakistani. He lives in South London and will be studying for a creative writing MA next year at Roehampton.

I'd like to thank the publisher for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading! 

* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy:,

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