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The Youth of God

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The Youth of God tells the story of Nuur, a sensitive and religious seventeen-year-old Somali-Canadian boy who becomes radicalized by the teachings of Imam Yusuf at the local mosque in a neighbourhood in Toronto called Dixon that has become synonymous with crime, unemployment, and the broken dreams of many Somali immigrants.

Trying to rescue Nuur from Islamic radicalism is
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 15th 2019 by Mawenzi House Publishers Ltd.
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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THE YOUTH OF GOD by Hassan Ghedi Santur was on the long list for CANADA READS 2020. I borrowed this novel through Interlibrary Loan and am very grateful to the libraries and librarians that made this possible.
Thank you to Canada Reads 2020 for including THE YOUTH OF GOD in the long list. Otherwise I would have missed out on reading this well written, heartbreaking novel about Nuur, his family, his teacher and his Muslim imam.
The main characters and most secondary characters are
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ive spent roughly a week trying to write this review. Ive sat down at least half a dozen times and somehow I still cant quite put into words how this book affected me, but Ill try.

The writing style was a little more abrupt than what Im used to, but I think it serves the book well and didnt stop me from being drawn to the characters right away. The story very much had a good vs. bad vibe, but it wasnt quite so cut and dry. There is racism, religion, bullying, complicated familial relationships,
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
About a young Somali-Canadian teen growing up in a Toronto suburb, dancing between furthering his education and falling into radicalism, this book examines the immigrant experience of young Black displaced men in a city that isolates and abuses them. So thats where Nuur is, trying to be faithful, trying to be honest, trying to ignore bullying, and trying to escape the ghettoization that has shaped his life. I appreciated the look at his family - the ways that his mother was slowly ground down, ...more
Melissa Anderson
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I know very little about the Somali community in Toronto other then the negative gang related violence. In all of the years I have lived in this city, I have never been to Rexdale. This is both ignorant and naive of me. This novel has taught me a lot about this community and their faith. This novel also made me feel so many emotions. Fear, anger, compassion, hope, overwhelming sadness. This story is told through two perspectives. Nuun, a seventeen year old student and his biology teacher Mr. ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
The Youth of God is a story centered on 17 year old bright student, Nuur, a Somali immigrant living in Toronto, Canada with his family. Influencing his choices is Mr. Ilmi, his Somali, Biology teacher at school, who notices his great potential and develops a strong desire as a result to help him succeed. Mr. Ilmi is not the only one who discovers just how special Nuur is as Imam Yusuf, at the mosque Nuur frequents being quite the religious teenager, is equally intent on utilizing his young ...more
T.R. Horne
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had to marinate on this novel for a while because it really makes you feel for the characters and understand the ease in which we can be led astray. The story follows Nuur, a Somali teen living in Toronto, as he navigates his faith and his dreams as a high schooler. He is bullied relentlessly because he wears his religious clothing to school and prays throughout the day. He never stands up to the bullies but only prays about it and finds solace at his mosque and with his favorite teacher, Mr. ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story takes place in Toronto, and tells the story of a young Somali teenager, Nuur, who is in his last year of high school. Nuur is studious and has a curious mind that is nurtured by his Biology teacher, Mr. Ilmi, who is also Somalian.

However, an unstable home life, the trauma of a civil war still affecting his community, and bullying/racism at school, see Nuur being pulled in two different directions; between being a devout Muslim (is being indoctrinated by a radical imam) and his dream
Ahmed Deen
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hassan Santur confidently presented in his novel an important topic towards the most essential issues in the world, which is the issue of immigrants. In its core, "The Youth of God" is a story about love, and how the lack of embodied love can underfeed a young persons ability to make choices in their best interests. It is a painful reminder of the immense vulnerability of promising third-culture kids who navigate a double exile, while nominally a work of fiction.

"The Youth of God" recognizes the
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book will sit with me for a while. I cant muster up what else I want to say at 1am... it was really heavy, but important.

I remember watching a movie about Radical Islam in Airman Leadership School... I just understood instantly. I understood how terrorism is what it is. This book reminded me of that in such a different way since it was more subtle, more profound.... extremely sad and just had this dark feeling because you felt the evilness as well. Yet, its important for us to
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this heartbreaking story with high expectations, and they were all fulfilled. The insight into Nuurs thoughts gives you an understanding of how a troubled teenager tries to find answers to his questions about life; one way to find answers is his intellect ambition, the other his faith. I felt frustrations, concern, anger, but also hope. This story is not afraid to tackle a sensitive topic from an unexpected point of view; one of understanding instead of blind condemnation. It ...more
Sasha Boersma
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, fiction
This one sat with me for a while. It did not end as I was expecting. Two perspectives from the Somali community in Torontos Rexdale - one teacher reflecting on his role in society, and one youth struggling to find connection and meaning. Amazingly written. ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are in need of a tough account of seemingly incomprehensible life choices, I truly recommend you have a go at The Youth Of God. This is a humbling and well-told read. We all seek a sense of community and role models in order to shape our own identity for some they are ruthless bullies, for others they can be inspiring teachers, and for the 17 year old and bright, Somali-Canadian student Nuur, a religious leader tries to fill out that vacuum. ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I rounded down, was more like a 3.75.
Dora Okeyo
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
No one dreams of being forced out of their home, and sometimes the hardest thing for any refugee to do is deal with what happens after they survive either the war or a traumatic event. Reading this book unravels the vulnerability of children and families who are forced to flee their homes. It's a really heartbreaking tale and with it also comes the hope that one or two individuals would step in to make a difference.
Thanks Netgalley for the eARC.
To be among the chosen, you'll have to be more than just nice. p116

Nuur as a young teen is more than just nice, he's an ideal of a boy: mindful, curious, steadfast, kind. To Mr. Imli, Nuur is his most promising student, but an enigma nevertheless, considering that they are both refugees from Somalia settled in Toronto. Somewhat aware of the relentless bullying that the boy is subject to, he is unable to prevent the catastrophic outcome.

"He never brought his friends home,"( Nuurs mother observed)
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nuur is a Canadian born Somali teenager. He is bright and driven and wants to succeed in his schooling to become a doctor of Oncology someday. He is also a devout and pious Muslim and goes to Mosque regularly in a town near Toronto.

Nuur is a favourite of his biology teacher, Mr. Ilmi who worries about Nuur as he is often bullied at school for wearing traditional garb. Mr. Ilmi, a man who has his own regrets about decisions he made in his life and its direction, wants to help Nuur avoid these
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
Some short books are more difficult to read then door stoppers. This is one of those books.

One of the characters evoked strong feelings of anger. That a young man could be taken advantage of by someone who is meant to protect him is wrong. None of the characters are perfect, they are very human.

Thank you Hassan Ghedi Santur for introducing them to your readers. The ending was perfect.
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This novel pulled me in immediately and it evolved and progressed in a compelling way. You get to know enough about the main characters that you are cheering for them and feel you know them. Highly recommend this books that tells the story if two families simultaneously simple and complex.
Laurie Burns
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
This was a tough read, but a point of view I haven't really thought of.
I enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy this kind of book.
Cristina Hutchinson
Feb 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
I tried multiple times to get into this book, but I just didn't find that the writing, story, dialogue, or characters grabbed me in any way.
Jan 09, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: fiction

2020 Canada Reads Longlist
Canada Reads longlist, 3.8 stars.
My Book Club PTY
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
1/2 It has been almost 3 weeks since I finished reading this book. I hadn't posted the review specifically because I didn't know how to summarize this book. It is disturbing and enlightening at the same time, it led me through some ups and downs of emotions that I really did not know how to interpret, until now.
The book is about a teenager, Nuur, Somali - Canadian living in Toronto, Canada. Its a beautifully written book that takes you through the highs and lows that this teenager must go
Margarita Andreeva
rated it liked it
Aug 10, 2020
Tehmina Khan
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Jun 17, 2019
Ryan Lottermoser
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Jan 19, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Jul 17, 2020
Nader Rizkalla
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Mar 15, 2020
Sharon Lauria
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Feb 20, 2020
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Hassan Ghedi Santur emigrated from Somalia to Canada at age thirteen. He has a BA in English Literature and an MFA from York University, and an MA from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He has worked as a radio journalist for CBC radio and his print journalism work has appeared in the New York Times, Yahoo News, and The Walrus, among others. In 2010, he published his debut novel Something ...more

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