You Think You Know Me by Ayaan Mohamud is today’s book review. I do reviews every Saturday through the year (occasionally multiple books, and around Christmas other things might happen, like Best of the Year). But it’s also letter Y for the A2Z Challenge – yes, only tomorrow to go!

The plan for the month is to feature daily a book I’ve reviewed in the past (or review it that day), and also highlight others: not all are included each day.

  • review/featured
  • spacetime challenge (I host this reading challenge – you can join here)
  • middle grade (childrens) choice
  • series (love a good series – there’s a challenge for finishing those, too)
  • ‘notable’ reads
  • ‘outstanding’ books
  • my books!

You Think You Know Me

by Ayaan Mohamud

A stunning debut about finding the strength to speak up against hate and fear, for fans of The Hate U Give and I Am Thunder. Hanan has always been encouraged to be a good girl, a quiet girl, never making trouble. When her classmates treat her as a target for their racist bullying, and her teachers use her as their perfect Muslim poster girl, she keeps smiling and keeps her mouth shut. They don’t see past her headscarf, but she knows she is so much more than that. Then a local man is murdered, tensions run high and Muslims become targets for even worse abuse. After a terrifying attack, Hanan decides that it’s time to make her voice heard…it’s time to shake the world. (goodreads)

My Review

For once, the book is exactly what the blurb says. It is stunning, the key points are there, and the events unfold.

But wow! how well this is told. The author has grabbed Hanan’s point of view and made it your own, whatever colour, creed or leaning you are. It’s the most beautiful, warm, fierce, family-friendly (maybe not under tens) encounter you could ask for. And that’s with a schoolgirl who may have little in common with you. But that’s only on the surface. Underneath you discover that there’s no difference in our basic values and ambitions. Work hard, make friends, work towards the exams, make your family proud of you.

Ayaan Mohamud has done a splendid job with presenting Hanan and her troubles to us. This had me on the edge of my seat, so great suspense as well as story-telling. I’ve read several Somali refugee in the UK stories now, and I still can’t imagine how they come across so settled and well-balanced after all they’ve been through. Maybe it’s the code of conduct that Hooyo – mother in Somali – instills into the family. I’ve ranted before about UK Refugee policies, so I’ll leave that out. Just go and read it, and support any refugees you can. They need our support and understanding.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an ARC.

Middle Grade Choice

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly. A boy and a girl play Scrabble online. Offline they have problems making friends, avoiding bullies, and engaging with life. But suddenly, life takes over and only one friend can help. A delightful story, probably deserved five stars, although I was a bit picky and docked one!

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand. A bereaved child moves to a struggling theatre to be with her relatives. Maybe she’s just thinking of dead people, but suddenly she realises there are ghosts all around her, ghosts who need her help. Charming book that I passed on to my ten-year-old great niece, which is recommendation enough!


Young Knights of the Round Table by Cheryl Carpinello is an enjoyable historical series for middle grade and teens (and adults). I’m not sure that Cheryl has more to write in this series, but as she’s just finished her Guinevere series, we may get some more, hopefully.

Notable Books

The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd: the year in question is 1816. The year before, a supervolcano erupted, casting ash into the upper atmosphere. The author does a terrific job of historical fiction featuring six sets of people affected by the appalling weather conditions, crop failure, and rebellion. Mary Shelley finds the weather in Switzerland not to her liking: she takes it out on her writing.

You Beneath Your Skin by Damyanti Biswas. ‘You Beneath Your Skin has an incredibly twisted plot that covers many levels of Indian society and the problems each character has in staying one step ahead of their own ruin. The writing is rich and powerful even when talking about the poor and powerless.’ Brilliant and incisive writing, and situations which some people (i.e. me) may find distressing.

That’s all for today, so come back tomorrow for more. I’m hoping to meet more people who like the same kinds of book, so feel free to recommend something you’ve read beginning with the letter of the day!

A2Z Book Review | You Think You Know Me

6 thoughts on “A2Z Book Review | You Think You Know Me

  • 29 April, 2023 at 3:38 pm

    Once again they all sound interesting. After the challenge, I’ll have to see what I can find in the USA.

    • 29 April, 2023 at 9:06 pm

      They are all listed on Goodreads, so I expect they’re all available… (might have to check the publication date of the featured book, but I think I’m late on it, rather than early)

  • 29 April, 2023 at 11:25 pm

    You Think You Know Me Was the free World Book Night title at the Women’s Library this year. I didn’t pick one up on the grounds that I have more than enough to read till I’m 105, but now I think I’ll check to see if they have some left next time I’m in.

    • 30 April, 2023 at 10:01 am

      Yes, it’s a problem of so many good books to read. I’m currently in the middle of Many Waters, and seriously considering not finishing it. There are plenty more I own – including the last in the series.

  • 30 April, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    So many books and so little time. And now a couple more for the TBR—your featured book sounds really good.

    I didn’t think Many Waters was one of L’Engle’s stronger works.

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