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American Heart

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  697 ratings  ·  191 reviews
Imagine a United States in which registries and detainment camps for Muslim-Americans are a reality.

Fifteen-year-old Sarah-Mary Williams of Hannibal, Missouri, lives in this world, and though she has strong opinions on almost everything, she isn’t concerned with the internments because she doesn’t know any Muslims. She assumes that everything she reads and sees in the news
ebook, 416 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by HarperTeen
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Elisa Because people need something to hate on in order to make their lives seem relevant.

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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  697 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Emily May
“But I wasn’t done asking questions. I was thinking that this would be the last time I’d ever get to talk to a real live Muslim, face-to-face, and there were so many things about them… that I just didn’t get.”

I really wanted to give American Heart a fair chance, despite the controversy surrounding it (view spoiler). I recall a lot of people blacklisted Forest's The Black Witch
Oct 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed, ya, arcs
This book was honestly worse than I thought it would be. There is just so, so much wrong with it. From page one.

First of all this story is told in retrospect, which means that while Sarah-Mary starts telling us this story, everything has already happened. And that tells us a lot about the absolute lack of growth and learning that this character goes through despite everything. She starts off the book by telling us: “I showed up with dark hair and dark eyes, and [my mom] worried people would
Sep 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: yall-aint-shit
fuck your white savior narratives
fuck using marginalized characters as a plot device to teach the white mc how to be a decent person
fuck you for perpetuating the idea that marginalized people need to suffer in order to be worthy of "humanity"
fuck this book and everyone who thought it would be a good fucking idea


to my Muslim friends, i'm sorry this book and this mindset exists
Aimal (Bookshelves & Paperbacks)
Sep 22, 2017 marked it as wouldnt-touch-with-a-10-foot-pole
Ah, yes, as if Muslim detainment camps wasn't bad enough, we also have peak white saviorism. Because of course! For a white character to care about people LITERALLY dying, a Muslim has to convince her that we are, in fact, human beings. Revolutionary.

Nick T. Borrelli
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Basically because I want to piss off the people who gave this book one star without having read it. So I'm giving it five stars also having not read it. My instinct is always to push back on PC bullshit wherever I encounter it. Have no idea whether this is a good book or not but FIVE STARS!
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that's pretty much how I feel about American Heart.

I have no doubt that Laura Moriarty wrote American Heart with the best of intentions; she's publicly stated that she wanted to reflect on our current political climate. However, the problem with Laura's book is that she reflects on our current political climate badly - with limited analysis of Islam, our political system, and world building - and therefore, it undermines the entire point of
Cathy Day
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-books
Because I'm a fan of the author's novel The Chaperone, I "liked" her author page. That's how I got an ARC of American Heart; Moriarity asked if anyone wanted to take a look at her new novel, and I said, sure. I've never met the author.

As I started reading, I had no idea that there was any controversy surrounding the the novel, but as soon as I logged into Goodreads to update my reading progress, I saw what was happening and was immediately reminded of Kat Rosenfield's recent Vulture article.
Chantel McCray
Oct 15, 2017 marked it as to-read
Giving a book a one star rating without even reading it because you don't like the premise or the color of the authors skin is intellectually lazy. If you don't like the premise, don't read it. A better strategy if you're so passionate about it, would be to read it and then actually know what you're talking about when you point out all the ways it sucks. To try to destroy a books reputation before it's even released is the equivalent of burning books to me. If that's the kind of person you are ...more
Oct 14, 2017 marked it as nope
Fellow white people:

Did you know that, sometimes, not everything in the world has to revolve around us? I know this is a tough concept, since we've invaded and colonized lots of countries and thus spread our white supremacy far and wide.

But sometimes, we are not important. A white writer should not have tackled this story, and neither should a white character be the center of it. This book's very foundation is flawed and racist. It should have been buried deep in a drawer somewhere to never see
Yusra  ✨
Apr 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF @ 40%

this was absolutely unbearable. I was going to write a whole detailed review with quotes and stuff just so you all can STAY AWAY FROM THIS TRASH but I had to return it to the library. say what you want, but I slammed this shit into the return box and I literally could care less if it ripped.
don’t read this. ignorance has a limit, and this book crossed it, and like I could care less if she ends up “changing”. IGNORANCE HAS A LIMIT. also, if you’re a white author writing about any other
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I have not yet read this book. But I cannot WAIT to read this book. We use fiction to serve as a mirror to our own shortcomings and I think many people will be able to identify with the protagonist who holds certain stereotypes until she meets someone who dispels those myths. I think anyone who holds similar views to those the protagonist holds at the beginning of the book should be afforded the opportunity to meet someone who represents the cultures erroneously depicted in the ...more
Aida Alberto
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading American Heart last night and I wanted some time to collect my thoughts before posting my review because I went through all reviews on Goodreads and saw all of the negativity posted on there. Do I focus on those negative reviews or do I focus on the book? I will focus on the book. I really enjoyed this book because it gave another view as to what is tearing our country apart. All my life I have relied on my belief that what makes our country so great is the blending of ...more
Samantha Londer
Sep 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
fuck this white savior bullshit.

read The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah instead or literally any other #ownvoices book.
Crystal Alegria
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've read all summer! The author does an amazing job of showcasing what could easily happen in this country if we are not careful and vigilant. The characters have incredible depth, making it a "hard to put down" book. The two main characters compliment each other brilliantly, each bringing vulnerabilities and complexity to the story. Each of the characters, especially the two main characters, work together to become friends and allies, saving each other from the ...more
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read this. But if other people are going to give it one star without having read it based on the premise alone, then I can give it five based on the premise alone. What's the point of ratings if this is how we are going to use them?
Clif Hostetler
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
Here's A LINK to an article in the February 4, 2018 Kansas City Star newspaper about controversy stirred up by this book. I think it likely that the controversy has helped sales. I'll admit that's the reason I purchased the audio edition of this book was so I could decide for myself about the issues raised. I will address the complaints mentioned in the article at the end of this review.

This novel describes a dystopian United States where all Muslims are deported to "protective custody" in a
Alida Hanson
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Haven't read it but will do my small part against trolls who are trying to bury this book before anyone gets to read it.
Sep 13, 2017 marked it as will-never-read
Note to self:
Will not read because Muslim detainment camps. No more explanation needed.

Some people seem to have a problem with why I've decided not to read this book. Even though these notes are for myself, so I remember why not to touch books on these shelves with a barge pole, for those of you who are reading, you may want to read this review of the book by Justina Ireland.

This book is offensive and harmful for Muslims. If after reading the above review you can't see that, then I don't
Oct 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
this author: man I just really want to write about a world where muslim-americans are even more oppressed so i can write about a white girl being Special


me: im sorry i think i just had a stroke


That's the issue here. Believe it or not, it goes beyond the white saviour trope, although that is a problem. However, I believe if this was a mediocre story about a white girl unlearning her racism after being faced with it in today's America, this book would have gone largely unnoticed.

Oct 14, 2017 marked it as not-touching-with-a-ten-foot-pole
how many more white savior type books will publishing shit out before it realizes they are garbage and dehumanizing and 1000% unnecessary and not the diversity we need?
I have a thread with books by Muslim authors to support instead:
Ellen Lee
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So everyone is rating this book with one star although they say they haven't read it and will never read it.

Alrighty then, I'm rating it five stars although I haven't read it but will read it.

My rating is based on the starred Kirkus review--which was written by a Muslim-American woman!--that praised the novel's “frighteningly believable setting of fear and violent nativism gone awry.”
Kayla Bashe
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
As a Jewish person who grew up hearing stories from Holocaust survivors, whose family was close personal friends with the late Eli Wiesel, and whose own ancestors left Europe just before the camps started, I feel that this book is exploitative and unnecessary, and that the author should have been more considerate.
Alice Lieberman
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was able to get an advance copy of American Heart, by Laura Moriarty, which is due out in January, 2018. I have read all of Moriarty's books because she has such an uncanny talent for giving voice to her young female characters. This book is no exception. I live near the area where the book takes place, in the heart of Missouri. Its population includes poor, mostly White, deeply religious families. The children in these families are often required to learn life lessons pretty quickly--they ...more
Sean R.
hahaha great, another book for people to yell about and feel better for yelling about. jeez.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fine YA novel written by a veteran novelist who took the time and effort to make sure this book was careful with its narrative to be culturally sensitive to all races, creeds, ethnicities, and religions. It is in line with such novels as 1984, Slaughter House Five, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Schindler's List in that it is a social criticism in which it portrays characters that are xenophobic or racist in its criticism of xenophobia and racism. It is an important YA book that will ...more
DMG Byrnes
Oct 11, 2017 rated it did not like it

STOP with the white savior narratives!!

So disgusted and mad I can't even...I mean, did you READ the blurb???? NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!! STOP IT!! I'm sick of narrative how-tos on empathy and caring about anyone outside of yourself or that looks like you.

Above all, LISTEN to the comments from Muslim reviewers. To ignore them is to ignore what should be part of your target audience. If they are not part your target audience, then perhaps rethink the book you're writing if it
Ann Elise Monte
Oct 14, 2017 marked it as nope
No. No no no. And no.

Enough white people capitalising on brown people's pain. Enough white saviour narratives. Go seek out books written by Muslims instead of this... thing.
Wendy Richards
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I cannot wait to read this book. If more people actually followed up instead of insisting they knew what it was without any clue, this world would be far better off.
Ben de Groot
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just to piss off the PC police, who also haven't read this book, I'm giving it 5 stars. And thanks to them, and Steven Pinker for pointing out their idiocy, I am putting this book on my to read list.
Elia (goldenlyre)
Oct 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
2.8 stars?? sounds about white

screw you and your white savior bs
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Laura Moriarty earned a degree is social work before returning for her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. She was the recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
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