by Samira Ahmed
* * * * * Stars (Amazing!)
Safiya Mirza dreams of someday being a journalist. In order to achieve this dream, Safiya becomes the editor of her school’s newspaper. As editor, she learns something; it’s her job to find the facts in Jawad’s case and not let personal bias overcome her when she finds Jawad. You may be wondering, “Who is Jawad?” Jawad Ali was 14 years old (a freshman in high school) when a teacher mistook his cosplay jetpack for a bomb. This led to Jawad getting arrested and eventually getting murdered. Now it’s up to Safiya to find Jawad’s body and bring him justice. Haunting her along the way, Jawad’s voice allows Safiya to differentiate between facts, lies, alternative facts, and the truth behind Jawad’s case.
When I first approached this book, I immediately compared it to “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder,” by Holly Jackson. This book is slightly similar, but is remotely different, and at the end of the book I realized the comparison was inaccurate. This book is exceptional as Ahmed is clearly not afraid to cover topics like racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and other harsh issues. I loved the switch between the different characters POVs in the book, as we are able to hear Jawad’s story after he died and is a “ghost.” For high school teens.