In the Name of God

Paula Jolin, Author . Roaring Brook $16.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-59643-211-6

Jolin's powerful and timely first novel transports readers to present-day Syria and explores how the hatred that young people feel towards Americans seems to fuel their willingness to become suicide bombers. Nadia, a respectable hijabi girl, lives in Damascus, where she fasts, prays, reads the Qur'an and covers her head. She is disgusted with her cousins' acceptance of Western culture ("Once again, Western values were intruding into my world and I was powerless to stop them"). Like her cousin Fowzi, Nadia believes that America's support of Israel and their fight against terrorism is contributing to the unstable conditions in Syria. Many young people, unable to find professional jobs, must seek work elsewhere, either in Emirates or the United States ("enemy number 2," behind Israel). Fowzi tells them, "How can you be responsible to the Muslims when you live in a state that's attacking them?" After Fowzi is arrested, Nadia feels compelled to fight against the American influences that resulted in his arrest, and agrees to be a suicide bomber. Readers will see that underneath Nadia's extremist idealism there is also a young woman with a romantic notion of saving her country, who doesn't fully realize the overwhelming consequences her actions will have on her family until it is almost too late. Though at times readers may feel they are being taught, this informative novel will get them thinking about another point of view. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-312-38455-5
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