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Amal Unbound
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Amal Unbound
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"Saeed's timely and stirring middle-grade debut is a celebration of resistance and justice."—Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewThe compelling story of a girl's fight to regain her life and dreams...
"Saeed's timely and stirring middle-grade debut is a celebration of resistance and justice."—Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewThe compelling story of a girl's fight to regain her life and dreams...
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  • "Saeed's timely and stirring middle-grade debut is a celebration of resistance and justice."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

    The compelling story of a girl's fight to regain her life and dreams after being forced into indentured servitude.

    Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal's Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she's busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when—as the eldest daughter—she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn't lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens—after an accidental run-in with the son of her village's corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family's servant to pay off her own family's debt.
    Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal—especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal's growing awareness of the Khans' nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

About the Author-

  • AISHA SAEED also wrote Written in the Stars, and is a Pakistani-American writer, teacher, and attorney. She has been featured on MTV, the Huffington Post, NBC and the BBC, and her writings have appeared in publications including the journal ALAN and the Orlando Sentinel. As one of the founding members of the much talked about We Need Diverse Books Campaign, she is helping change the conversation about diverse books. Aisha lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and sons.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 12, 2018
    Saeed (Written in the Stars) infuses this true-to-life story of unjust power dynamics in a poor Pakistani village with a palpable sense of dread regarding the fate of the inquisitive, industrious, poetry-loving titular character. Twelve-year-old Amal is troubled by her parents’ obvious distress that her newborn sibling is yet another girl, and she is vexed that her responsibilities as eldest daughter require her to run the household while her mother is bedridden. Amal unleashes her frustration on the wrong person when she talks back to Jawad Sahib, the wealthy landowner, who demands she work off her debt for the insult
    . Amal’s experience navigating an unfamiliar social hierarchy in the landlord’s lavish estate exposes her to pervasive gender inequities and unfair labor practices, like being charged for room and board but receiving no pay. While her growing indebtedness makes it unlikely she will ever leave, Amal’s ability to read grants her a dangerous opportunity to expose the landlord’s extensive corruption, if she dares. Saeed’s eloquent, suspenseful, eye-opening tale offers a window into the contemporary practice of indentured servitude and makes a compelling case for the power of girls’ education to transform systemic injustice. Ages 10–up. Agent: Taylor Martindale Kean, Full Circle Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Priya Ayyar beautifully conveys this bittersweet story set in Pakistan, which was inspired by Malala Yousafzai and millions of girls like her. Amal accidently collides with the son of her village's ruling family. After she verbally challenges him, she's forced to live with his family as a servant. Vibrant descriptions of the village, school, and Amal's friends take the listener into the center of her life. Ayyar's narration captures Amal grief over losing her family, friends, and education--she planned to become a teacher. It's moving and comforting to hear her settle into her new "home," where she makes friends who help her and whom she also helps. Listeners of all ages will enjoy this coming-of-age story, which is sadly realistic but hopeful. S.G.B. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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