You Truly Assumed - Review
*I received the E-Arc from Inkyard Press via NetGalley. All reviews are my own.*
Alright, I'm not going to cookie-cutter this one. I did not like You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen. Not because the story was terrible; It's just that nothing happened in the narrative to wow me or educate me on the topic. You can say YTA is an uplifting book for young adults, but I think most would bypass this for something more action-worthy with the same message.
"Sabriya has her whole summer planned out in color-coded glory, but those plans go out the window after a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort. You Truly Assumed was never meant to be anything more than an outlet, but the blog goes viral as fellow Muslim teens around the country flock to it and find solace and a sense of community.
Soon two more teens, Zakat and Farah, join Bri to run You Truly Assumed and the three quickly form a strong friendship. But as the blog’s popularity grows, so do the pushback and hateful comments. When one of them is threatened, the search to find out who is behind it all begins, and their friendship is put to the test when all three must decide whether to shut down the blog and lose what they’ve worked for…or take a stand and risk everything to make their voices heard."
So, YTA starts with a "terrorist attack" in D.C., and of course, because of the events of 9/11, everybody automatically assumes the Muslims did it. And to add to that, it didn't help that the guy who initiated the bombings had an Islamic-sounding name. His actions set a precedent for what was to come throughout the novel. Three girls in separate states navigate through the aftermath of the bombing, dealing with prejudice and racism the best way they can. They all happen to stumble across a blog that connects them and their experiences with people's opinions on Muslims and the religion. But that's about as far as my attention seemed to allow. The story dragged.
I appreciate the personal outlook on each POV's dealings with people's ignorance, but I haven't seen anything else in the story that grabbed me. I've picked up this book twice (the first time I DNFed, the second time I endured it for book club … and then wished I DNFed), and I can barely remember the events with the three main characters. This will sound bad, but I was hoping for some drama or altercation to help freshen up the story. The bombing was a two-second scene-stealer to pull you in, and there was nothing else that anchored you to stay. Nothing groundbreaking or jaw-dropping happens—just a lot of passive aggressiveness.
Now that I think about it, do you know how desensitized we are as a human race when we bypass the feelings of others? I see the word "bombings" and "terrorist attacks" I think I'm going to get a Hollywood story out of the premises. I had to question whether something was wrong with me because I needed some kind of drama to make the book more enjoyable. At this point, I see ignorance as part of everyday life. Racism and prejudice shouldn't be tolerated or brushed off. But it's every day when your skin is tinted, or your religion comes from a different text. Everybody has a story about how they are treated and feel about a situation. And I feel like this was that book. It's three persons' points of view detailing unfavorable circumstances and how they felt about it.
Overall I rated this book a very thin 3-stars. I wanted to love this book. I truly did. But I view this story the same way I hear behind-the-scenes stories about Ellen DeGeneres – passive-aggressive. I applaud the author for trying to give something relatable with a positive outcome for kids. Sometimes we need to be able to switch the narrative and paint a different picture for others to see. It's not the worst book to come out this year, but I hope to see Sabreen try again with something different.