Amal Unbound

Aisha Saeed
"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 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.


Reviewed: 2020-12-01

If you had to leave your family to serve an unruly man in charge, could you? Amal is the eldest daughter of two farmers in current day Pakistan. She wants more than anything to get her education and take care of her younger sisters. One day, Amal encounters the man in charge of everything near her -- also the most feared man for miles. When he accidentally hits her with his car she is left with a decision. Bite her tongue and move on, or stand her ground? She soon realizes she has made the wrong decision, when days later he is at her front door, leaving her whole family petrified. He decides that in return for her disrespect towards him he will take her as a servant until the debt is paid. Amal is to clean up the mess she made by serving his mother's every need. Saeed's story of a young girl fighting for what is right is raw and real. The plot twists and turns, causing the reader to turn every page faster then the last. How will Amal get herself out of this situation? How will she deal with this man? How can she go on with not seeing her family for months? Told from Amal's perspective, this book of a young girl enduring what seems impossible will touch readers and open their minds to situations that happen far too often on the other side of the world. Submitted by: Brianna Gunther

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