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Fans of the riveting mystery in Courtney Summers's Sadie and the themes of race and religion in Samira Ahmed's Internment will be captivated by this exploration of the intersection of Islamaphobia and white supremacy as an American Muslim teen is forced to confront hatred and hidden danger when she is framed for a terrorist act she did not co Fans of the riveting mystery in Courtney Summers's Sadie and the themes of race and religion in Samira Ahmed's Internment will be captivated by this exploration of the intersection of Islamaphobia and white supremacy as an American Muslim teen is forced to confront hatred and hidden danger when she is framed for a terrorist act she did not commit. Salma Bakkioui has always loved living in her suburban cul-de-sac, with her best friend Mariam next door, and her boyfriend Amir nearby. Then things start to change. Friends start to distance themselves. Mariam's family moves when her father's patients no longer want a Muslim chiropractor. Even trusted teachers look the other way when hostile students threaten Salma at school. After a terrorist bombing nearby, Islamaphobia tightens its grip around Salma and her family. Shockingly, she and Amir find themselves with few allies as they come under suspicion for the bombing. As Salma starts to investigate who is framing them, she uncovers a deadly secret conspiracy with suspicious ties to her new neighbors--but no one believes her. Salma must use her coding talent, wits, and faith to expose the truth and protect the only home she's ever known--before it's too late.


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Fans of the riveting mystery in Courtney Summers's Sadie and the themes of race and religion in Samira Ahmed's Internment will be captivated by this exploration of the intersection of Islamaphobia and white supremacy as an American Muslim teen is forced to confront hatred and hidden danger when she is framed for a terrorist act she did not co Fans of the riveting mystery in Courtney Summers's Sadie and the themes of race and religion in Samira Ahmed's Internment will be captivated by this exploration of the intersection of Islamaphobia and white supremacy as an American Muslim teen is forced to confront hatred and hidden danger when she is framed for a terrorist act she did not commit. Salma Bakkioui has always loved living in her suburban cul-de-sac, with her best friend Mariam next door, and her boyfriend Amir nearby. Then things start to change. Friends start to distance themselves. Mariam's family moves when her father's patients no longer want a Muslim chiropractor. Even trusted teachers look the other way when hostile students threaten Salma at school. After a terrorist bombing nearby, Islamaphobia tightens its grip around Salma and her family. Shockingly, she and Amir find themselves with few allies as they come under suspicion for the bombing. As Salma starts to investigate who is framing them, she uncovers a deadly secret conspiracy with suspicious ties to her new neighbors--but no one believes her. Salma must use her coding talent, wits, and faith to expose the truth and protect the only home she's ever known--before it's too late.

30 review for No True Believers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    Wow. This book is pretty powerful. Salma is quite the character and I give her SO much love for dealing with things the way that she did. Unfortunately this is all too real, especially in this day and age which is really sad. Dealing with Islamophobia, Salma and her family have to deal with white supremacy and hatred within their own neighborhood. As we all know, kids are especially mean and don't really think about the repercussions of their actions. Salma being bullied in school, physically pu Wow. This book is pretty powerful. Salma is quite the character and I give her SO much love for dealing with things the way that she did. Unfortunately this is all too real, especially in this day and age which is really sad. Dealing with Islamophobia, Salma and her family have to deal with white supremacy and hatred within their own neighborhood. As we all know, kids are especially mean and don't really think about the repercussions of their actions. Salma being bullied in school, physically pushed and stalked and provoked outside of the classroom - oh my blood was BOILING. Especially when reading the part where there was a POINT SYSTEM to the hatred, like it was a fucking game. GRRRRR. To see how the staff reacted - some not at all and others truly wanting to make a difference. UFF. People. I loved that Salma did have a support system, not just with her family but with her two close girlfriends. That was a least a bright side within. It's interesting to see that it's "easy" to take these types of behaviors from people *easier* when it's just happening to you... but when it upsets your family (sisters), then it's full on seeing red and now something needs to be done. But what's worse? Hoping it'll go away? Or reacting? When Salma thinks there's a conspiracy, now she has to figure out how to make people hear her before something really bad happens. This is the author's very personal debut novel and one I would definitely recommend be read. It's a pretty powerful YA novel and while there was a part that seemed a bit too seamless, I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It provoked a LOT of feelings from me and is pretty educational.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rabiah Lumbard

    Rating for effort. I put three years of my soul into this baby!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aj Sterkel

    I inhaled this book. It’s a “one more chapter” novel. I told myself I’d read one more chapter before bed, and then it was suddenly midnight, and I had no intention of putting the book down. Once the plot gets moving, it really takes off. You’re in for a wild ride. The main character, Salma Bakkioui, is a fairly typical suburban teenager. She has a loving Muslim family; a shy, nerdy boyfriend; and a group of girlfriends who are always ready to party. Her life becomes more complicated when a new fa I inhaled this book. It’s a “one more chapter” novel. I told myself I’d read one more chapter before bed, and then it was suddenly midnight, and I had no intention of putting the book down. Once the plot gets moving, it really takes off. You’re in for a wild ride. The main character, Salma Bakkioui, is a fairly typical suburban teenager. She has a loving Muslim family; a shy, nerdy boyfriend; and a group of girlfriends who are always ready to party. Her life becomes more complicated when a new family moves in next door. The new neighbors are . . . creepy. The wife seems terrified of her husband, and the son brings Salma’s younger sisters lavish gifts. As the neighbors’ behavior gets weirder, Salma uses her (not completely legal) computer hacking skills to dig into their digital life. What she uncovers leads to difficult choices. Should she run before her neighbors can frame her for a terrorist attack, or should she risk her life to stop the bombing? Salma is an easy character to love because she’s self-aware. She knows how to play to her strengths, and she understands her weaknesses. She’s always tempted to use her hacking skills for cruel purposes, but she’s aware of her mean streak and keeps it under control. It’s refreshing to see a teenage character who pauses to consider the consequences of her actions. Salma would be an excellent role model for real teenagers. Salma has a strong relationship with her family. They’re a tight-knit group. They aren’t perfect, though. This isn’t a major plotline, but Salma lives with a chronic illness, and there are hints that her mother doesn’t understand what that’s like. Salma knows her mother is trying to help, but sometimes her help isn’t exactly helpful. I think that’s realistic. Her mother doesn’t have an illness, so she struggles to relate. Speaking of important relationships, Salma has a sweet romance with Amir, her boyfriend. It’s uncomplicated and teen-angst-free. When Salma is upset, Amir shows up with coffee or takes her to the butterfly garden. They just love each other. All the drama happens when Salma and Amir are roped into the neighbors’ terrorist plot. Then they have to figure out how to save their own lives. A teenager uncovering a terrorist scheme is probably far-fetched, but parts of this book are depressingly real. I’m not Muslim, but I have witnessed Islamaphobia. I was a teenager when 9/11 happened. A group of boys at my school suddenly became very loud about their desire to join the military so they could “murder all the Muslims.” One boy even talked openly about his murder plans during one of those stupid “introduce yourself” games. The teacher did nothing to stop the murder talk (or give the boy realistic ideas about military service). Similar events happen in No True Believers. The principal knows that Salma is being bullied, but he ignores it. Luckily, Salma has a support system. She has parents and friends who will stand up for her. That’s one of my favorite aspects of the book. Even when she’s keeping secrets, Salma is never truly alone. There’s always somebody looking out for her. I found this novel gripping, but I do have two complaints. First, I think the secondary characters all need more development. Salma has a lot of friends, which makes sense because she’s likeable, but her friends are mostly just names to me. We don’t see much of their personalities. I feel the same about Salma’s sisters. I pretty much forgot they existed until they went missing. Salma barely interacts with them. I think more character development could have also answered some of my lingering “Why?” questions. Why did the weirdo neighbors choose Salma? They were acting creepy before they moved in, so did they buy the house to target her? Or was she just a convenient scapegoat? I don’t know. The reader doesn’t learn enough about the neighbors. Second, the book is being compared to Courtney Summers’s Sadie. I think that could give readers the wrong impression. I wouldn’t call No True Believers a thriller because it’s paced like a contemporary until the last fourth of the book. Most of the story is about Salma trying to live her life while Islamaphobia consumes her town. It’s slow-burn. The book doesn’t become thriller-like until the end. I love contemporaries, so the pace didn’t bother me, but I want readers to have realistic expectations. Despite my complaints, I enjoyed this book. It’s an engaging story about choosing love over cruelty and finding ways to make the truth heard. “In the religion of love there are no true believers. Everyone is welcome.” – Rumi quoted in No True Believers Do you like opinions, giveaways, and bookish nonsense? I have a blog for that.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Knuttel

    Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for a review copy of this book - all opinions are my own. NO TRUE BELIEVERS is out on FEBRUARY 11, 2020! Whew. This book was quite the ride! Let’s do this in list form. Things I Loved: - The cover - it is sooooo gorgeous and powerful! Definitely catches your attention right away. - The blurb. It is super intriguing and it made me request this book with no prior knowledge, which I rarely do. HOWEVER, the blurb is also a big part of my critique below. Stay tuned ha Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for a review copy of this book - all opinions are my own. NO TRUE BELIEVERS is out on FEBRUARY 11, 2020! Whew. This book was quite the ride! Let’s do this in list form. Things I Loved: - The cover - it is sooooo gorgeous and powerful! Definitely catches your attention right away. - The blurb. It is super intriguing and it made me request this book with no prior knowledge, which I rarely do. HOWEVER, the blurb is also a big part of my critique below. Stay tuned haha. - Salma. Salma B. Girl kicks some serious butt and I love her. She is strong and sassy but vulnerable and scared all at the same time, which is very real. She loves powerfully and rages against injustice. She turns away from the opportunity to be cruel even when presented with easy and deserved opportunities. She uses her powers for good! - Salma and Amir I love Amir! Amir is adorable! Amir can do no wrong. I love their relationship and how strong it is. I love that there is no drama about the relationship and that we fall into it when it is already strong. - Family dynamics. The force is strong with this one, and I’m a sucker for good family dynamics in YA. - Mysteries! Thrills! Questions! Answers! Secret societies. Scary plots. This story has it all, and once the plot picks up, man does it fly. However...see below. - This story deals with some very relevant and important topics. It is so vital to hear from these marginalized voices and learn how to be an ally. Critiques! - The blurb is a bit misleading. Most of what it discusses does not happen until the end of the book or does not happen the way it leads you to expect. Which sometimes can be good but this time left me hanging. - Pacing. This story is definitely a slow burn with loooots if set up. Most of the action happens in the last, like, quarter. Once we got to that last quarter, it was fantastic and heart pounding! However, because of what the blurb teases about the story, you spend a long time waiting for all of the action. - I would have loved a glossary in the back to define frequently used Arabic words/phrases so that I wouldn’t forget what they meant! - We never feet closure with some of the characters who give Salma trouble at the beginning. That’s life, but I would have liked it haha. I was planning on giving this a 3, but the ending definitely brings it up to a 4. This story is for sure worth reading! It’s gritty and heavy and intense, but that’s what makes it great!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    Salma is a talented young hacker, but when Islamaphobia rears its head in her school and community, her Muslim heritage makes Salma a target, both physically and technologically. No True Believers, Rabiah York Lumbard’s debut YA novel, includes plenty of interesting high-tech intrigue and Muslim cultural references, but both of those elements self-consciously weigh down the plot of this thriller. It’s likely that some readers will relate to or learn from those aspects, but No True Believers is a Salma is a talented young hacker, but when Islamaphobia rears its head in her school and community, her Muslim heritage makes Salma a target, both physically and technologically. No True Believers, Rabiah York Lumbard’s debut YA novel, includes plenty of interesting high-tech intrigue and Muslim cultural references, but both of those elements self-consciously weigh down the plot of this thriller. It’s likely that some readers will relate to or learn from those aspects, but No True Believers is at its best in the dramatic action scenes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Ramey

    This book was both ripped from the headlines and completely believable. Salma is a Muslim American teen who faces Islamophobia including subtle micro-aggressions, physical and emotional attacks, and a full scale white supremacist terror plot that attempts to frame Salma. The writing is fresh, the pacing is right on. Salma, who also suffers from EDS, gives a face to chronic illness in addition to her struggles with being accepted for who she is. Salma is a believable heroine with supportive frien This book was both ripped from the headlines and completely believable. Salma is a Muslim American teen who faces Islamophobia including subtle micro-aggressions, physical and emotional attacks, and a full scale white supremacist terror plot that attempts to frame Salma. The writing is fresh, the pacing is right on. Salma, who also suffers from EDS, gives a face to chronic illness in addition to her struggles with being accepted for who she is. Salma is a believable heroine with supportive friends and family and a totally swoon worthy boyfriend. Salma uses her hacker skills to figure out who is framing her. Taught writing and tons of twists make this unputdownable. Treat yourself to this incredible read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shazia

    Link to my School Library Journal review: https://www.slj.com/?reviewDetail=no-... Link to my School Library Journal review: https://www.slj.com/?reviewDetail=no-...

  8. 5 out of 5

    TMooreInc

    The title of the book is taken from a line from Rumi: “In the religion of love there are no true believers. Everyone is welcome.” The main character and the author, both American Muslims, have each clearly taken Rumi’s point to heart: the real enemy is not the Other, but the human tendency to otherize your neighbor. Salma is a seventeen-year-old girl living in Virginia who knows what it’s like to be otherized. She has a rare chronic illness that puts people off, and she has recently lost her best The title of the book is taken from a line from Rumi: “In the religion of love there are no true believers. Everyone is welcome.” The main character and the author, both American Muslims, have each clearly taken Rumi’s point to heart: the real enemy is not the Other, but the human tendency to otherize your neighbor. Salma is a seventeen-year-old girl living in Virginia who knows what it’s like to be otherized. She has a rare chronic illness that puts people off, and she has recently lost her best friend because of bigotry. Then, after a local terrorist attack, she’s pushed down the stairs at school because she’s a Muslim. What’s really unusual about this book is that, like its main character, it never gets preachy in the face of all this bigotry. Salma struggles throughout the book with the prejudice she finds in her own heart as well as with the prejudice all around her. Woven through the book is the image of a butterfly, which is often used as a very outward sort of symbol: transformation means simply adding wings. But Salma understands that transformation of the self is a lot more radical than that. She says, “The caterpillar turns into a stew of enzymes and literally feasts on its own body...a worm...dares to imagine a higher existence.” Here is a book about extremism that doesn’t fall into the very evil it’s condemning: the demonization of any one group. Instead, it recognizes that the origin of the evil we see in the world is not ultimately the Other—even when the Other is obviously evil—but the human heart itself. The problem begins inside. The caterpillar’s job is not just to accomplish a little self-improvement, a little outward decoration, but to dissolve its very core in order to be transformed, from the heart out, into something beautiful. I read this book (an advance reader’s copy) in one sitting. Salma is realistic and engaging, the pace of the writing is perfect, and the author weaves in explanations for religious and cultural traditions unobtrusively so that the book is accessible to anyone.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thindbooks

    *This arc was given to me by the author to give an honest review* This book will change your life. A Muslim girl seeks her freedom in the U.S. when she is framed for a terrorist act. This book is about the coming of age of Salma, the main character. She is brave and goes through many problems with this book which she solves on her own. The author put many obstacles for her to go through so that the main character will fight for her freedom and not be judged of who she is. I liked the writing of t *This arc was given to me by the author to give an honest review* This book will change your life. A Muslim girl seeks her freedom in the U.S. when she is framed for a terrorist act. This book is about the coming of age of Salma, the main character. She is brave and goes through many problems with this book which she solves on her own. The author put many obstacles for her to go through so that the main character will fight for her freedom and not be judged of who she is. I liked the writing of this story. Rabiah has written it well and explained everything that was going on in this novel. She wrote the book in a well-paced to keep the readers entertained with thrillers (nothing scary more like what will happen next). The author gave Salma a love interest, good friends and family to support her and help her to never give up. This book made you turn every single page until the end.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Gaetani

    Salma is an American Muslim teen who gets swept into a white supremacist plot. The only way out of having this pinned on her is to figuring out who is behind the dangerous plot. Salma has a clear and strong voice. She is smart and a completely American teen. The book is tight and has plenty of twists. It provides a good shift of the paradigm for the Y.A. reader. One critique: A basic Arabic glossary will be a friendly addition. While most of the terms are briefly explained within the text, not all Salma is an American Muslim teen who gets swept into a white supremacist plot. The only way out of having this pinned on her is to figuring out who is behind the dangerous plot. Salma has a clear and strong voice. She is smart and a completely American teen. The book is tight and has plenty of twists. It provides a good shift of the paradigm for the Y.A. reader. One critique: A basic Arabic glossary will be a friendly addition. While most of the terms are briefly explained within the text, not all of them are. You can’t generally find these words in a dictionary.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I thought this book fast-paced and action packed. I liked how the characters were diverse in more ways than one. The main characters were extremely likeable. And, I really liked that Salma was a hacker. I just always think that’s super cool! I did think there were some loose ends that didn’t get tied up. I’ll mention those down below. Overall, I give this 3/5 stars because I am frustrated with the loose ends. But, this would be a PERFECT, #OwnVoices book to have in a school library. SPOILERS BEL I thought this book fast-paced and action packed. I liked how the characters were diverse in more ways than one. The main characters were extremely likeable. And, I really liked that Salma was a hacker. I just always think that’s super cool! I did think there were some loose ends that didn’t get tied up. I’ll mention those down below. Overall, I give this 3/5 stars because I am frustrated with the loose ends. But, this would be a PERFECT, #OwnVoices book to have in a school library. SPOILERS BELOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (SPOILERS: Like, what happened to her bullies at school? Where did Chris Jr. go? Who was the man with the piercing eyes that was behind Mrs. Turner? Why had Mrs. Turner cut off all of her hair and dyed it black? Who was the man in the fancy car that visited Mr. Turner late one night? Why had Chris Jr. helped Salma that one day she was getting bullied if he was so racist?)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laury

    This is a taut young adult thriller centring around a Muslim teen, Salma, who gets set up for a crime she didn’t commit. This is no spoiler, you get this information in the opening pages. Like many young adult books, it is also a great read for adults. Honestly, I found it as tightly plotted as the best thrillers out there, only instead of our hero uncovering a conspiracy in which “Moozlems” are secretly plotting to destroy the free world, here a Muslim girl, with budding hacking skills, has to This is a taut young adult thriller centring around a Muslim teen, Salma, who gets set up for a crime she didn’t commit. This is no spoiler, you get this information in the opening pages. Like many young adult books, it is also a great read for adults. Honestly, I found it as tightly plotted as the best thrillers out there, only instead of our hero uncovering a conspiracy in which “Moozlems” are secretly plotting to destroy the free world, here a Muslim girl, with budding hacking skills, has to unravel a series of tips and clues, break into houses, lose tails, and do some baby black hat hacking to save her loved ones and the rest of us from [can’t tell you!]. Let’s just say, it doesn’t end up where the Islamophobes would like. 

 Unlike most thrillers, this book does not put the weight of the tension entirely on the plot, here the emotional life of the characters makes every wrong move every save feel like so much is at stake. It felt to me like the emotional tension of HBO’s “The Night Of,” in which a young Muslim man, an excellent student and good son, makes one bad choice that destroys his life and the life of his family. The weight that Muslims carry, making one wrong move, that looms so powerfully in the book. We just can’t make the jokes, or post links, relax publicly in the way that non-Muslims have the luxury of doing. If we do, we are immediately suspects. Islamophobia haunts the lives of Salma, her family, and friends. York doesn’t portray all non-Muslims as Islamophobes, she has a breadth of characters from loyal friends to concerned moms who stand up for her and her family, just like we find in real life. You all are out there, and we appreciate it! And that gets me to the thing I liked the most about the book, it’s realistic depiction of Muslim life. Look, Muslims are like everyone else. Muslims observe Islam in diverse ways, every one of us makes choices that are natural for us within our families, our communities, our wider world. Salma, gasp, has a boyfriend and a really innocent, chaste, and sweet relationship that harkens back to the “good old days” when kids could grab a kiss and hold hands and that was pretty much it. It’s a lovely relationship and feels real. I’m glad York did not portray her without the desires and feelings that most kids feel. I think a lot of young adult Muslim fiction does this these days, some kids remain fully chaste and others do much more. It’s all real and I really appreciate it. 


  13. 4 out of 5

    Tylor Brand

    The book is simultaneously a bildungsroman AND a detective story starring a smart, kinda cool, young, outwardly white American Muslim girl who is coming to terms with herself as a person while also trying to stop a white supremacist terror attack. This character, Salma, is important for several reasons. There are hundreds of millions of Muslims who defy stereotypical conceptions (from Russia, the Balkans, Africa, North Africa, China, South Asia, Southeast Asia...). Nevertheless, racially "atypic The book is simultaneously a bildungsroman AND a detective story starring a smart, kinda cool, young, outwardly white American Muslim girl who is coming to terms with herself as a person while also trying to stop a white supremacist terror attack. This character, Salma, is important for several reasons. There are hundreds of millions of Muslims who defy stereotypical conceptions (from Russia, the Balkans, Africa, North Africa, China, South Asia, Southeast Asia...). Nevertheless, racially "atypical" Muslim erasure is a thing, not just in the Middle East, where the default conception of Muslim is still associated with those from the region, but also in the West, where fair skinned Muslims might blend in to society more seamlessly, but are nevertheless still members of an out-group due to their religious beliefs. Floating between communities and defying stereotypes in all directions, Muslims of both white and black backgrounds are rare as unicorns in fiction, unless they are being portrayed pejoratively as secret fifth columnists in some low rent Tom Clancy knockoff. Salma is none of this. Her composite identity influences how she sees the world and interacts with it. She is a Muslim, she is white, but she is also a young American woman who experiences desires, anxieties and emotions that one would expect from a girl her age. She is utterly believable. Oddly, this might draw the ire of more conservative Muslim readers, who might object to portrayals of desire and other questionably pious character traits. Nevertheless, Lumbard is not trying to write a didactic parable about the dangers of Westernization, she's writing a young adult thriller, and this one cooks. The pacing is steady enough for the reader to grow attached to the character and get a sense for her personality as the story begins. When the suspense kicks in, the reader is pulled along by Lumbard's dynamic writing and knack for narrative pacing. The storytelling is GOOD, and the ending satisfying. I highly recommend this for young adult readers of all backgrounds (and adults in search of a great afternoon read).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aya Khalil

    No True Believers is an excellent book that is not only authentic, but well-written and captivating. Lumbard does a great job with the characters and Muslims can definitely relate to Salma throughout the book. I love the Arabic phrases used throughout the book, including Allahu Akbar, which is used by Muslims many times throughout the day. The usage of the phrase normalizes the word since it is often portrayed negatively in the media. Highly recommend this book!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Edith Hemingway

    NO TRUE BELIEVERS is the epitome of a “high concept” novel—a term used by editors and agents, but one which, until now, I found difficult to define. The story is essentially a high stakes thriller involving a teenaged Muslim girl who is at first treated unfairly and bullied by Islamophobic students and school officials and ultimately framed as a suspect in a terrorist bombing conspiracy. It is through Salma’s computer hacking skills, bravery, and perseverance that she is able to uncover the cons NO TRUE BELIEVERS is the epitome of a “high concept” novel—a term used by editors and agents, but one which, until now, I found difficult to define. The story is essentially a high stakes thriller involving a teenaged Muslim girl who is at first treated unfairly and bullied by Islamophobic students and school officials and ultimately framed as a suspect in a terrorist bombing conspiracy. It is through Salma’s computer hacking skills, bravery, and perseverance that she is able to uncover the conspiracy and redeem both herself and her boyfriend, Amir. But the book is so much more that a fast-paced, intricately plotted and suspenseful story. It is an intimate look at the life of a Muslim girl living in American society with insights into both the religion and loving family life, as well as the thoughts and responses of a typical teenager of any culture. I was alternately intrigued by Salma’s life and religion and angered by the hostile treatment she faced on a daily basis. Throughout the story, Lumbard organically weaves in bits of wisdom, as in this passage: “But sitting here at the computer, reading this grossly arrogant document, I felt the same disgust, the same anger she did. It suddenly and viscerally dawned on me how a single word or label can yield so much power” (199). Lumbard's description of a musical piece Amir writes made me long to hear the actual “oud” played live: “The piece that he wrote…was strident. Repetitive. Deliberately so, in the best and catchiest way…It was defiance with a bounce” (90). And, finally, Lumbard’s description of a Blue Morpho butterfly is worth repeating here: “I absorbed every inch of her delicate glory. Her dark-as-night frame, her spider-thin veins. And what a color, a blue to which all blues aspire, so irresistible you want nothing more than to fold yourself up into a microscopic ball and fall inside” (71). In short, every teenager could benefit by reading this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    my first thought upon completing this is: lol wut? i was not prepared for the ride this sent me on. i thought it was about a Muslim American teen having to deal with prejudice and high school and stuff but it swiftly evolved into a high stakes national conspiracy that only our 17 year old protagonist can take on! as enjoyable and exciting as the drama was, it was so far-fetched and unbelievable that i just cannot really take it seriously. our gal Salma uncovers an underground network of terroris my first thought upon completing this is: lol wut? i was not prepared for the ride this sent me on. i thought it was about a Muslim American teen having to deal with prejudice and high school and stuff but it swiftly evolved into a high stakes national conspiracy that only our 17 year old protagonist can take on! as enjoyable and exciting as the drama was, it was so far-fetched and unbelievable that i just cannot really take it seriously. our gal Salma uncovers an underground network of terrorists and basically witnesses a murder via livestream and never tells her parents or calls the police? girlie..... what? i got very confused by the series of events, such as Salma breaking into a house and finding exactly the incriminating evidence she needs almost immediately as well as another character getting a QR code tattooed on their body that when scanned, tells Salma exactly what she needs to hear. the stakes were very confusing bc it started out as “my best friend moved away and my sisters are getting bullied for being Muslim” and then quickly turned into “i alone must thwart these terrorists before they blow up Washington DC.” i was ????? by the change in the stakes LOL. i did like reading from the perspective of a white Muslim girl whose white mom converted when she was younger, as i’ve never read a Muslim character with her background before. i also appreciated the chronic illness rep that is very present and in Salma’s life but doesn’t hinder her from being a queen! some authors just like to toss in an illness for diversity’s sake but Salma’s Elhers-Danlos Syndrome was at the forefront of the story and actually turned out to be a handy tool while she was out solving crimes 🔎 in conclusion, this definitely had entertainment value and i RACED through it to see what would happen, but the drama and how ridiculous it was just was too much for me. if you need something short and exciting to get you out of a reading slump, this is it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Leaving this one unrated, because ultimately it wasn't really my thing, but I don't want anyone to hold that against the book. I use audiobooks to experiment with genres I don't typically read, because taste change, and it's also just nice to have a sense for other genres. No True Believers is a mystery/thriller. It starts out more like a contemporary about bullying and Islamophobia, but then transitions into something more intense, roughly equivalent to, say, a Veronica Mars series ender in ton Leaving this one unrated, because ultimately it wasn't really my thing, but I don't want anyone to hold that against the book. I use audiobooks to experiment with genres I don't typically read, because taste change, and it's also just nice to have a sense for other genres. No True Believers is a mystery/thriller. It starts out more like a contemporary about bullying and Islamophobia, but then transitions into something more intense, roughly equivalent to, say, a Veronica Mars series ender in tone/action. I prefer fluffier books, and this didn't really work for me, as it does not put a focus on emotional arcs at all. One thing that I did appreciate greatly about this book, though, is that the heroine, Salma, has EDS. It's so rare to see characters with illnesses get to be the heroes of the story, rather than the book really just being about the illness. That said, I don't feel like the book actually explained much about it (which is both good and bad), so I was glad I'd watched Drag Race season 11, because Yvie Oddly talked a lot about EDS.

  18. 5 out of 5

    JJ Kelly

    Gripped me immediately and I don't see it letting go any time soon

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mariela

    This was an easy to read & interesting YA book. This was an easy to read & interesting YA book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karlan

    The beginning of this exciting novel seemed to be a story of a Muslim teenage girl being bullied at school after a terrorist attack in Wash., DC. It quickly became a thriller involving the girl's considerable hacking talents. It was truly frightening.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Salma is a people-pleasing, muslim Veronica Mars. If you like books about girl detectives you'll love this book. Along with being a great mystery, it shows you what it's like for a teen to deal with a chronic health issue and Islamophobia on top of normal high school life. I highly recommend it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate Waggoner

    @KidLitExchange Thank you @getunderlined and @rabiahreads for sharing an advanced copy of No True Believers with the #KidLitExchange network. This YA contemporary mystery thriller will be released on February 11, 2020. All opinions are my own. Salma's life dramatically changes when her best friend, Mariam, moves to the U.A.E. with her family because her father's patients no longer want a Muslim chiropractor. Right after Mariam leaves, there is a terrorist bombing in nearby Washinton DC, and Salm @KidLitExchange Thank you @getunderlined and @rabiahreads for sharing an advanced copy of No True Believers with the #KidLitExchange network. This YA contemporary mystery thriller will be released on February 11, 2020. All opinions are my own. Salma's life dramatically changes when her best friend, Mariam, moves to the U.A.E. with her family because her father's patients no longer want a Muslim chiropractor. Right after Mariam leaves, there is a terrorist bombing in nearby Washinton DC, and Salma starts to experience several spells of Islamophobia. She also is struggling with to come to terms with the fact that a new family has moved into Mariam's old home. Something about them just doesn't sit right with Salma. She begins investigating and uncovers a diabolical plot, but will she be able to stop it before it's too late? I want to start by talking about the cover. It instantly attracted my attention and pulled me into the story. I wanted to know the significance of the words selected. Then there's the prologue, the letter written by Amir. Once again, this instantly builds interest and suspense. My intrigue was instantaneous when it came to the cover and the prologue. The actual story though had a very slow start. There is a lot of exposition and build up. However, when the climax and falling action came I definitely wasn't disappointed and I was fully hooked. I love how strong of a character Salma is. She is dealing with so many things that she shouldn't have to. I hate that the incidents she has with classmates, school administration, and the police are a reality for people. She handled these situations with strength. I also loved that she kept returning to the idea of radical love and that Salma kept repeating a paraphrase of Rumi, "In a religion of love there are no true believers. Everyone is welcome." This is such an important and powerful message. I truly enjoyed this book and think that it would be an excellent recommendation for readers in high school and up. My one criticism is actually a request, I would love a glossary of terms. While Salma often defined the terms she was using, not all were explained.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Hicks

    Loved Salma and her courage. I did feel like I had to envoke a suspension of disbelief in the way that some of the characters reacted, especially her parents. Maybe coming from an overly strict environment had influenced my thinking. Overall, an enjoyable read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emma Apple

    I don't generally read YA so I went into this book unsure what to expect. I was quickly captured by the characters and the story they were leading me into. The characters feel authentic and full, they're complex and imperfect, I feel like I got to know them. The relationships feel authentic and organic as well. The inclusion of Islam and Muslimness in this book is seamless and natural and, in my opinion, perfect for a book like this. The families we meet are perhaps more relaxed in some ways than I don't generally read YA so I went into this book unsure what to expect. I was quickly captured by the characters and the story they were leading me into. The characters feel authentic and full, they're complex and imperfect, I feel like I got to know them. The relationships feel authentic and organic as well. The inclusion of Islam and Muslimness in this book is seamless and natural and, in my opinion, perfect for a book like this. The families we meet are perhaps more relaxed in some ways than many Muslim families in the US, but they are also real, they are intersectional, they aren't written to be The Model Muslim Family, because that doesn't exist. The story is suspenseful and emotional, I was captivated. So many parts of it are familiar to those of us who have lived Muslim (and raised Muslim kids) in the US, this is a very real example of a unique and rare Own Story. You can tell that the author is pulling from real, personal experience in her writing. If I wanted to find something to criticize, maybe it starts a little slowly, and maybe I wanted a bit more dimension to the villains of the story. But I recognize that that is a lot to ask for in one book of this length, and it already goes so far into fleshing out the characters and story where it matters most, so those are things I can trade. Highly recommend, must-read, Muslim teens and their non-Muslim friends will find this YA novel engaging, emotional, and relevant. I received a digital ARC of this book from the Author.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    At times this was difficult to read because of the realness of the reactions of the characters to the "threat" posed by Salma and Amir, and the way in which white supremacists can appear relatively normal and can act less hate-filled than they are. And those schoolmates, with the points system, was very realistic. Not just ripped from the headlines, but ripped from the national moment in which we find ourselves. The ending however, fueled by Salma's hacker skills and a too convenient twist, wasn At times this was difficult to read because of the realness of the reactions of the characters to the "threat" posed by Salma and Amir, and the way in which white supremacists can appear relatively normal and can act less hate-filled than they are. And those schoolmates, with the points system, was very realistic. Not just ripped from the headlines, but ripped from the national moment in which we find ourselves. The ending however, fueled by Salma's hacker skills and a too convenient twist, wasn't as good as the start. It would have been a better conclusion without so much stuff going on (either no hospital, or no cab rides, or no EDS, etc.). eARC provided by publisher.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    Thanks to the Kid Lit Exchange network and Crown Books for Young Readers for the review copy of No True Believers by Rabiah York Lumbard. All opinions are my own. Salma Bakkioui is coping with her best friend Miriam moving to another country when the unthinkable happens. A terrorist bombing occurs close to home and as a result, Islamophobia is at an all-time high. Salma, her boyfriend, Amir, and their families find themselves the targets of microaggressions, as well as physical and emotional atta Thanks to the Kid Lit Exchange network and Crown Books for Young Readers for the review copy of No True Believers by Rabiah York Lumbard. All opinions are my own. Salma Bakkioui is coping with her best friend Miriam moving to another country when the unthinkable happens. A terrorist bombing occurs close to home and as a result, Islamophobia is at an all-time high. Salma, her boyfriend, Amir, and their families find themselves the targets of microaggressions, as well as physical and emotional attacks. Then Amir and Salma find themselves as official suspects of the bombing. Will Salma be able to use her computer skills to find out who is really responsible before it is too late? There are just SO many reasons to love this book! First, Salma is an incredibly well-developed and complex character that overcomes many challenges both big and small. Second, this book deals with the very real problem of Islamophobia and the discrimination that many American Muslims face every day. Third, the author Rabiah York Lumbard is an American Muslim and much of the discrimination described in the book comes from her own personal experiences. This book is an absolute must-read!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rylea Gause

    I loved this book! It’s really interesting and despite not knowing much about the subject matter I still thought it was great, and it had an excellent message. I think it could have used a glossary for some of the science and non-English words. In my copy on page 51 when Salma is arguing with her mother it says “she blanched at the F-word” but Salma never says it. This has probably already been fixed, but I wouldn’t want it to make it into the final copy. Other than these two fixes it is so so s I loved this book! It’s really interesting and despite not knowing much about the subject matter I still thought it was great, and it had an excellent message. I think it could have used a glossary for some of the science and non-English words. In my copy on page 51 when Salma is arguing with her mother it says “she blanched at the F-word” but Salma never says it. This has probably already been fixed, but I wouldn’t want it to make it into the final copy. Other than these two fixes it is so so so good!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shawna

    I enjoyed this book. It tackles a very current and important topic of Islamophobia. But it is also a book about a teen girl her culture, her family and friends. The writing is good, the story clips along with the last quarter action packed. Without spoilers I think the book was missing a bit of the Why? But it is a quick read, that might have some thinking a bit more about culture, and who is out there.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    This is a very topical book of Islamophopia, set in the DC suburbs. A real page-turner, and almost too realistic for my taste.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Parts of this book were very good and made me think more deeply about xenophobia and the reactions many Americans have toward Muslims and the Islamic religion. Other parts seemed to strain my credibility and feel a bit over-dramatized. Still, I'm glad I read this book because it shows just how hard it is to trust those around us, even when they seem to be helpful, and just how quickly someone's life can fall apart due to false allegations and propaganda. The plot focuses on Salma Bakkioui, a hig Parts of this book were very good and made me think more deeply about xenophobia and the reactions many Americans have toward Muslims and the Islamic religion. Other parts seemed to strain my credibility and feel a bit over-dramatized. Still, I'm glad I read this book because it shows just how hard it is to trust those around us, even when they seem to be helpful, and just how quickly someone's life can fall apart due to false allegations and propaganda. The plot focuses on Salma Bakkioui, a high school senior with a connective tissue disorder and how she is accused of a terrorist act in Washington, DC. Salma and her family and her musician boyfriend Amir are caught up in a sophisticated plot, which escalates with every page and will make readers fearful of ever logging online or letting anyone into their house in order to make repairs. While I'm not sure I bought into the ending or Salma's mad computer skills, I enjoyed this story and found it hard to imagine how someone like her could protect themselves from this sort of accusation and plot. She's dealing with some scary, scary individuals who seem willing to go to any lengths to move their agenda forward. The book is a wake-up call for those of us who would prefer to avoid any political involvement or stay blissfully uninformed about the events around us. Political events do matter, and a rush to judgment about those around us who aren't just like us can be very dangerous and ill advised. Yet, as the teaser on the back of the book jacket says, "Sometimes they are out to get you." What can we do about that?

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