I heard about Amal Unbound for the first time when I was reading one of my fellow international bloggers’ review. Unfortunately, I cannot remember whose blog it was, I’m sorry. However, I decided to buy this book whenever it came out since the story sounded really interesting to me.Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books on May 8, 2018
Buy on Amazon, buy on bol.com, Buy on Book Depository
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.
My fellow blogger was really enthousiastic about Amal Unbound. In that same week, I saw another positive review and that triggered my curiosity even more. Amal is a young girl living in Pakistan. As most Pakistani girls are lucky to receive an education and are able to pursue their dreams, there are unfortunately girls who are not getting this chance.. Amal is determined to become a teacher, no matter how or what. Unfortunately, the landlord who owns everything in the village she lives in, is someone with a large amount of power and is using it in the wrong way. One wrong move and Amal could loose her education.
Despite the situation Amal happens to get herself into, she tries to make the best out of it. She still tries to pursue her dreams and she might find a way to realize them. This book shows that girls are trying to bring change into a culture which is male-dominated and where traditions can be old-fashioned. As this book is targeted for middle-grade readers, the language is quite easy and the chapters are short. Nevertheless, the book is interesting for older readers as well, since Amal Unbound teaches us about the Pakistani culture. This culture was quite unfamiliar to me.
I really enjoyed reading Amal Unbound. It was a quick read, I could have finished it in one sitting. It gives the reader an insight in the Pakistani culture. Honestly, I could never imagine these things still existing. I can’t get into details as for spoilers, but wow, that’s unfair. The language however, was a bit too easy for my taste and I think it’s really easy for middle-grade readers as well. Amal Unbound would have made a perfect YA read too. As stated before, I enjoyed reading this book but it doesn’t give me that 5-star feeling.