Publishers Weekly Review
In 16-year-old Sarah-Mary's near-future America, the U.S-Mexico border is closed and Muslims are being sent to internment camps. These aren't things Sarah-Mary thinks about much. She doesn't know any Muslims; she and her younger brother, Caleb, are stuck living with their strict aunt; and she hates her suffocating Baptist high school. Then Caleb insists that she help a Muslim woman get to safety in Canada, and her journey with "Chloe" begins. In her YA debut, Moriarty (The Chaperone) incorporates several familiar road trip themes as the two hitchhike north, but the real story is Sarah-Mary's awakening to her own prejudices and intolerance. Sarah-Mary is resourceful and good at thinking on her feet, constantly checking her moral compass against what she's been told; smart, exhausted Sadaf (aka Chloe), an engineer whose biggest mistake was loving the U.S. too much to leave, worries about herself, her family, and the dangerous situation she's putting Sarah-Mary in. A string of coincidences in the final chapters are a letdown, but Moriarty's novel remains an effective tale of dawning awareness and the risks and rewards of following one's conscience. Ages 13-up. Agent: Margaret Riley King, William Morris Endeavor. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-In a near-future that harkens back to the Japanese internment during World War II, "Get 'Em Outta Here" is a T-shirt slogan, and Muslims are required to live in "security zones," aka detention centers, supposedly for their own safety. Sarah-Mary, who lives with her religious aunt in rural Missouri, hasn't given much thought to the containment rules until her little brother is aided by an Iranian woman. Sarah-Mary agrees to help the woman make her way to the Canadian border and they concoct a story about Sarah-Mary's Portuguese aunt, who speaks no English. Hitchhiking is cold and dangerous, despite their sign: "Needing Ride. Help a Sister Out!" Adding complications is the large reward for Sadaf Behzadi's apprehension. As they travel, Sarah-Mary comes to realize that Sadaf (who taught electrical engineering in college, before the political changes) is not threatening, although she does need to find the proper direction in hotel rooms, to kneel for her prayers. The story centers on the logistics of the road trip, with little depth to Sadaf and Muslim culture. For more nuanced insights, consider Omar Saif Ghobash's Letters to a Young Muslim, a nonfiction book written for adults but accessible to teens, or Gretchen Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel comics, starring a Pakistani American teenage Muslim superhero. VERDICT For large library collections only.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.