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Amal Unbound

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  1,899 Ratings  ·  450 Reviews
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 unimagin ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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If everyone decided nothing could change, nothing ever would.

There’s no denying that this is an important book.

There’s no denying that the world is a better place with stories like this one being told.

This is the sort of book that I could see myself throwing at people because I certainly want a higher amount of the world population to understand how essential education is in a girl’s life. I want us all to stop taking it for granted. Just yesterday I was looking at my unofficial transcript, t
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-author
Probably closer to being 3.5 stars for the fact that it is extremely idealistic
See me talk about it briefly in my May wrap up:
may ❀
this book was so inspirational 😭😭😭
Sinead (Huntress of Diverse Books)
Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!

I received a copy of Amal Unbound from the UK distributor. I’ve been anticipating this book for AGES! Especially because of its beautiful cover. Seriously, Amal Unbound‘s cover is one of my top favourite covers of 2018. What do you think of it?

It’s #ownvoices for Pakistani rep.


I loved this book. It’s an empowering read, and I think children can learn a lot about indentured servitude.

It tackles classism, sexism, and poverty, i
Kate Olson
Thanks to Penguin Kids for this review copy!

Hands-down the middle grade book of spring 2018. An eye-opening and riveting story, inspiring and cliff hanger chapter endings and accessible text make this a required read aloud for grades 4 and up. The author's note is fabulous and not to be missed.
Anum Shaharyar
Malala Yousafzai, a globally-recognised Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, has inspired countless discussions, panels and articles. She now inspires Aisha Saeed’s latest novel, Amal Unbound.

However, while Yousafzai has spoken at international forums and been interviewed by multiple famous personalities, Saeed’s protagonist achieves none of that level of fame. That, explains Saeed, is precisely why she wrote about Amal, the eponymous heroine of our nove
Nov 25, 2016 marked it as to-read
Another Saeed book featuring a Pakistani heroine!!!! I need this in my life.
While not as horrifying as it could be, this story of a girl forced into indentured servitude by a local rich man (and bully), is disturbing. One small mistake, and Amal is taken from her family (her father owes the rich man money and Amal is taken to pay for this) and brought to the man’s home to work as a servant. What saves this from being horrifying is thankfully Amal’s story does not involve rape, though I imagine that is a daily risk for people forced into indentured servitude. Amal finds ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Amal Unbound is the best middle grade novel I have ever read. Though this is aimed at a younger audience, I thoroughly enjoyed this as an adult. Just like Saeed's young adult novel Written in the Stars, the author managed to write a sad story that was nonetheless hopeful, heartwarming and important. The author's note is beautiful and stresses why Saeed chose to write a book about indentured servitude. The Pakistani representation is #OwnVoices.

I listened to the audiobook and I adored the narrat
Laura (bbliophile)
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this in one sitting and it was honestly one of the best middle grade books I've ever read. It's absolutely phenomenal and heart-wrenching.
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text, bookgasm
In the small farming province of Nabay Chak, Amal is an inquisitive young lady with a penchant for knowledge. Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Amal is an intelligent and inspirational young lady, the eldest daughter who is reluctantly coerced to abandon her education, her mother overcome by postpartum depression.

Amal appreciates her education, acknowledging the ideology that female education is frivolous although vehem
ilsa ➹
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
im just trying to make up my mind about this because whilst I loved the incredibly powerful messages in here...I feel like these messages were then contradicted at the end of the story and uh, call me a pessimist, but the ending felt too hopeful for such an emotional, realistic story. if the end of this book was different or more sad and hard-hitting, I can firmly say that the rating would be higher.

The casual setting of Pakistan in here felt really good and just !??! what are these warm feels
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books
I just finished reading this gem of a book in one sitting, and am writing this review while the story is still fresh in my mind.

The book takes inspiration from Malala Yousafzai’s life. The story deals with the harsh realities that we still face in countries like India and Pakistan. Being an Indian, I know that there are still many rural areas where these sort of incidents do occur. Families wish to have only boys to avoid spending on dowry, carrying the family name after marriage, etc. Amal is l
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is so wonderful to see diverse books that reveal to readers the stories of children and teens so very different from their own. It is difficult to believe that in the 21st century that in some countries of the world the lives of men, women and children are still controlled by the powerful landowners of an area. Amal is a clever girl living in Pakistan but life is difficult for her, especially when her mother gives birth to yet another daughter. She is forced to leave school and give up her dr ...more
Julie Kirchner
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was an absolute heart wrenching story if you consider the pieces that are based in reality around our world.

Amal is a Pakistani young girl who just wants to get an education and share her knowledge as a teacher. Her mother has a baby and while suffering from what appears to be postpartum depression, Amal is kept home to care for the family and help run the house. In a trip to the market, two impulsive actions lead to her indentured servitude with the village’s ruling family. She is ta
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Realistic contemporary novel set in a small village in Pakistan, from the point of view of Amal. Amal is an admirable heroine, likable, smart, brave, forgiving and determined.

After speaking back to the son a wealthy family, she is taken into servitude until her Father can repay his debts to the family. Cruel and unfair, especially for strong-willed, knowledge-hungry Amal, who slowly realizes that her freedom and possible future as a teacher has been stolen away from her.

I read this in one sitti
Kayla Edwards
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book released yesterday. It was waiting on my doorstep when I got home. I read it in just a few hours. Engrossing, wonderfully written - I couldn't put it down. I love Amal and my heart breaks for her. This would be a great fiction/non-fiction pairing for I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World. Beautiful story, highly recommended.
Michelle Stimpson
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Was it really a crime to borrow a book gathering dust? Wasn't it a bigger crime to have such an amazing library collection going unread?"

Amal, a girl living in rural Pakistan, wants to be a teacher. But her dreams are dashed when she is forced into indentured servitude. Amal figures out there is more than one way to realize a dream. And sometimes you have to take your dreams into your own hands.

I've always loved a girl protagonist who is an aspiring teacher and loves to read. Amal reminds me of
Xavier (CharlesXplosion)
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, important, and empowering.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! Amal, a young girl dealing with the emotional shock of giving up her education to care for her family, publicly disrespects a prominent member and landlord of her community. Her punishment is to become a servant in his home. Luckily for her, she becomes the maidservant to his mother, enabling her more freedoms than the other servants. Wow Amal waits for her dad to try and repay her family's mounting debt to their landlord, she learns secrets that can bring his role to an end. Very ...more
Ms. Yingling
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Amal loves to go to school and help out her teacher, unlike her friend Hafsa who gets miffed when class lets out late. Hafsa and Amal plan to leave their small town near Lahore and go to college some day, and Amal wants to be a teacher. However, when her mother has her fifth daughter, she falls into a depression and even with the help of the family housekeeper, Parvin, there is too much work to be down. Amal must stay home from school to do the laundry and cooking. When
Lynn Plourde
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Our hope is OUR CHILDREN! They are showing us the way forward to a better world with the #NeverAgain movement and marches. Amal, the main character in AMAL UNBOUND by Aisha Saeed, shows the way forward in her Pakistani village--a way forward to freedom from being an indentured servant, a way forward to beat back corruption, a way forward to making education a right for all, including the girls in her village. AMAL UNBOUND is a beautiful book, a powerful book, and an incredibly timely book as our ...more
Kristen Picone
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amal loves learning, knows that freedom lies within the pages of books, and dreams of being a teacher. Those dreams are dashed when a run-in with the village’s most powerful landlord lands her confined to indentured servitude at his family’s estate. Amal hopes to return to her family one day, but the chances of that become slim as she learns of just how much power the Khan family has. How much is Amal willing to risk to ensure her own freedom and that of her fellow servants?

I could not put this
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful middle grade novel that I found had a lot of depth that I wasn't quite expecting with that beautiful, light cover. It's certainly a middle grade novel that packs a punch, and I definitely think it's an important book that should be a must for middle graders everywhere.

I loved Amal as a heroine. She was fierce, strong yet showed vulnerability. She is a wonderful heroine that I desperately wanted to root for. Her voice was wonderful, and I loved reading her journey. She is de
I received a finished copy of this book from Penguin Random House, in exchange for an honest review.

This is a very important book and talks about some very important topics such as classism, poverty, and sexism. I am so happy that a book like this is middle grade and that young readers know what is happening in other countries. We are fortunate enough to live the way we do and have all of the items we have. There are so many places in the world where an education is not possible for some child
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading Amal Unbound and believe that this book is an excellent choice for classrooms looking for a diverse middle grade read. Amal is completely focused on her education and her goal of becoming a teacher until family debts force her to become the indentured servant of a local landlord. The ending resolves perhaps a bit too easily, but the story is filled by a wonderful central character who is struggling hard to push her way against the stream of cultural expectations and fa ...more
Cassie Gutman (happybooklovers)
Easy-to-read prose and a harrowing and crucially important story, this is a book I would put in every middle schoolers hands (and parents) if I worked in a library or school. Definitely needs to be part of library collections.
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved this book. I can see why it was chosen for the Global Read Aloud for 2018 school year. I have been in the worst reading slump. This book was a fantastic book to get me out of that slump. Amal is so brave. I love the character! This book better get a Newbery nod come 2019.
Michelle Glatt
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reviewing this for SLC, so can't say much, but 4 stars means very well done realistic fiction. For middle grades.
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“Change, no matter how good and necessary, comes with a price.” 0 likes
“You always have a choice. Making choices even when they scare you because you know it's the right thing to do - that's bravery.” 0 likes
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