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In the Name of God
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In the Name of God

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  188 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Seventeen year-old Nadia is an excellent student, daughter and sister, and above all wants to be the best Muslim she can be. But she's conflicted about her Westernized peers, the economic, social and political struggles of her country, and the war raging in Iraq. When her cousin is arrested by the authorities for speaking out, Nadia finds herself drawn into the world of Is ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Roaring Brook Press (first published 2007)
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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Nov 07, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-ya
This is the story of a teenage girl in Syria whose boyfriend is arrested by the government for criticizing it. This causes her already deep sense of strictness to the laws of the Qu'ran to become even more so, to the point where she decides to join a group of anti-government rebels who advocate a return to the fundamental laws of Islam and banning western/American ways.

I found this a difficult read, on a couple of levels. First, the author's writing style seemed staccato, as if she were jumping
Trupti Dorge
Feb 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
In the name of God was a very unusual book. It’s how a 17 year old girl, Nadia, turns from being a devout Muslim to a fanatic. It makes us realize that there is a very thin line between the very religious and the fanatic if there are people who know how to exploit it.

Nadia lives in Damascus, Syria with her mother and brother. Nadia just wants to walk the path of God, do whatever he asks and be a good Muslim. But when the conditions in Syria worsen, the conflicts between the Muslims and the Syria
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I just finished this book moments ago. I received an advanced copy years ago, but I didn't have a chance to read it until now. With Syria in the news so much these days, I think this is an important book to read. Reading it is a huge exercise in putting yourself in someone else's shoes. One of the most important lessons I learned in college—in an anthropology class about the Middle East, no less—is that it's possible to understand and even sympathize or empathize with what someone's feelings or ...more
Aug 08, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2007
Weak. I expected to gain insight into what would make a Muslim teenage girl turn into a suicide bomber and instead I got a lot of teenage girl angst about her family and boys, which seemed reminiscent of any American Xian girl. The ending was trite. Just not a very compelling or memorable novel.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so important for all generations. A horrible stigma has been created around Muslims and we must work to show that they are poeple just like us, regardless of their beliefs. We must learn to have compassion and understanding first. This book shows that to even the youngest reader. It faces hard questions and subjects yet all things that are needed.
Jon Cullick
I recommend this book with appreciation to the author for writing it because global events and the Middle East in particular, and religion in general and Islam in particular, are all topics ripe for young adult fiction. This novel goes where other authors have not gone yet. The main character, Nadia, is one many teen readers can identify with because she is struggling with major decisions—those decision-points in life that define who a person is. She is also accessible to readers because her str ...more
Sep 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: review-posted
I read In the Name of God by Paula Jolin while I was on vacation. I was intrigued with the premise of a young Muslim girl and with the setting of Syria. There are many books that take place in the Middle East but there are few that chose Syria as home. So I was interested to learn more of this country. I was quickly to be disappointed in that wish.

This book may take place in Syria but references to the country are few and the descriptions seem to generic to the region. At no time did I get a sen
Katie Bell
This is the story of a Muslim teenaged girl in Syria navigating the space between faithful and extremist.

Given current events, I think this is an important time to be hearing the voice of a girl in the Middle East as she tries to navigate between her beliefs, extremism, the influence of Western culture, and just being a teenager.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for

17-year-old Nadia lives in Damascus, Syria, in a two-bedroom apartment with her mother and her brother. Every day the war seems to move closer, every day the poverty seems to get a little bit worse, every day Nadia sees everyone moving further from the God she knows, and every day Nadia gets more angry. When her cousin is taken to places and torture unknown, Nadia knows it's time to take a stand. But how? And why does no one else understand?

Her fa
Dec 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Ehhh. I really wanted to feel some sympathy for Islamic fundamentalism and to find the legitimate perspective within it. The West, particularly the United States, HAS caused a lot of problems in the Middle East over oil (understatement of the decade), and it make sense that people would feel really angry about it. I don't mind hearing how the United States is bad (as an American reader). I want to hear that perspective. But I didn't feel like Nadia had enough nuance to make her position sympathe ...more
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it

This is a very interesting book. It is the story of Nadia, a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in Syria. Nadia is hijabi and very resentful of the influence the Western world has had on some of her cousins. Her religion is very important to her and she is critical of others who don't seem to give Islam equal weight. I really enjoyed seeing life through Nadia's eyes. And it broke my heart to watch her travel the path from devout Muslim to fundamentalism, and to ultimately get involved with radica
Nov 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: someone dipping their toes into literature about the modern Middle East/religious fanaticism
This book is difficult to read. I had problems with Nadia's character, and her viewpoints both fascinated and repulsed me. I wish the author had gone deeper in many places to explain Nadia's turn to fanaticism.

The hate that Nadia has toward America and the West is one thing that bothered me (for selfish reasons, since I'm American). Also, the "twist" ending felt like a cheap cop-out to me, and leaves far too many plot holes (Listed @ the bottom of the review, if you've read this or don't mind b
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book, In the Name of God, by Paula Jolin depicts the thoughts and experiences of Nadia. Nadia is a teenage girl living in Syria. Nadia is struggling to develop and identify her feelings about her religion, Islam, and her politics when her cousin is arrested for being too outspoken. This incident ignites Nadia’s passion to be a good Muslim and makes her critical of her friends, family, and government. Nadia becomes involved with an extremist group in an attempt to serve her god, honor her cou ...more
This book disturbed me, not because of the violence or the religious zeal of the main character but because I never came to care for the character. I wanted to like Nadia and I did empathize with the seeming futility of her family’s life. I found the role that fantasy, especially romantic fantasy, played in her thinking disturbing. It is certainly possible that she engaged in this type of speculation because of the bleakness of her circumstances but I found myself wondering if she was delusional ...more
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
A story about a young girl who kind of 'falls into' radical Islam. She gets to the point in her life where she is about to be a suicide bomber.. like, she totally has the bomb strapped to chest. The author intended to bring a new and challenging point of view to her young adult readers, but I think she pushed it a little too far. All Nadia ever does is talk about how America is the enemy and anyone who isn't a believer needs to be destroyed. It was not as provocative as the author thought it was ...more
Luce Cronin
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book written from the point of view of a 17-year-old Muslim girl who is a devout Muslim. This is Paula Jolin's first book, and although not a Muslim herself, she has spent many years living in the Middle East. Her novel brings to light , predictably of course, the differences between Western teens and teens living in the Middle East, but more so, the similarities between these teens growing up in such different cultures. Nadia, the main character, is very well created, very believabl ...more
Sep 18, 2010 rated it liked it
this book was in my must-read list because i am curious on what its about and also because i rarely read book about islam. and after reading it, i am not dissapointed.

being in the mind of a pious teenage muslim girl who is about to turn into a suicide bomber is a bit disturbing, for me. towards the end, i was SO sure she would bomb herself and i feel like crying for her, for her family, when the ending took a surprising twist. *winks* which was a relief.

reading this book made me realize that the
Oct 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure how I felt about this book. It seemed unreal to me, unbelievable, that a young woman would pursue a terrorist action and fantasize about being kissed. I get the feeling of hating Americans for the pain and suffering of her people - I'm not sure I feel much differently. But the lipstick and bombs thing was tough to believe. Or maybe, its easier to believe that terrorists aren't human, don't have the same feelings as I do. Or maybe it was that the approach was that she was performing ...more
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: jf-ya
Well written and thought-provoking but I am uncomfortable with the treatment of the topic. I think some subjects are too complex and layered to be handled as a YA non-fiction and this is one. I think the arguments and their roots are simplified for the audience in a way that doesn't do the situation justice. Suicide bombing is not just a reaction to teenage angst. I didn't buy for a moment that Nassir would betray his cousin for a job or that Nadia would put herself in that position. There is a ...more
Oct 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone wanting a Muslim perspective
I was a bit stunned by this book; I'd never read anything like it before. I didn't like Nadia or her self-righteous zealotry, but I could understand her and why she was the way she was, and I give the author kudos for being able to put me, a normal WASP American girl from Ohio, into the shoes of a fundamentalist Muslim from Syria. A possible companion book would be Robert Cormier's After the First Death, which is also about terrorism from the perspective of the terrorists themselves.

The only thi
ACS Librarian
Nadia is a fervent Muslim, and her dedication fuels anger and suspense. The author saves her most powerful moment of decision for the final pages, but it still seemed too quick to me. How could this happen so fast? And if the threat of violence can build so quickly in the real world, what can possibly be done about it? I could foresee several different endings for this book, and I had no idea what I wanted to happen. I'm not sure even now whether that's a credit or fault of the book, but I do kn ...more
Nov 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Nadia is a Syrian and devote Muslim. She is troubled by her family's seeming desertion of their faith, disgusted by her cousins' obsessions with boys and clothes and American values. Except for one slightly older male cousin. He still seems to be devote in his faith. In fact, he is so devote, that he is arrested for being a terrorist. This leads Nadia to track down another man who knew her cousin and add her support to their fanatic causes. This is a great look into the mind of a fanatic, you re ...more
Int'l librarian
Nadia is a fervent Muslim, and her dedication fuels anger and suspense. The author saves her most powerful moment of decision for the final pages, but it still seemed too quick to me. How could this happen so fast? And if the threat of violence can build so quickly in the real world, what can possibly be done about it? I could foresee several different endings for this book, and I had no idea what I wanted to happen. I'm not sure even now whether that's a credit or fault of the book, but I do kn ...more
Dec 31, 2007 rated it liked it
My mom gave me this book for Christmas, mostly because the main character's name is Nadia. However, this book is not what you might call light reading. It offered a very different perspective on the "war on terror" that Bush is so determinedly fighting. Also, insight into what the Muslim world thinks of Westerners, particularly Americans. I was really made to think about religion, fanatacism, and each person's place in the world. If you're looking for entertainment this is not the right book. If ...more
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book take you to the brink and then....
This book opened up rich, safe opportunities to talk with my students about fundamentalism and the progression of what is means to be a radical fundamentalist. Without any bit of endorsing or glamourizing violence as a means of action or problem solving, this story allows the reader to develop a sense of empathy or understanding of the context in which radicalism is born out of.
Vickie T
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit
Nadia lives in Syria and is trying to be a good Muslim. Her cousins are not as devout as she is. When her cousin is arrested she is drawn to a dangerous young man. The viewpoint of a fundamentalist Muslim was fascinating. Nadia was such a prig about her religion but then again most fundamentalists are. This would be great paired with Me, Evolution & Other Freaks of Nature for a book discussion with students. A South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominee this year.
J.R. Lankford
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
Shelves: booksiloved
Paula Jolin's In the Name of God was an eye opener for me. She's a member of my writers workshop, NovelPro, but I didn't read this until after it was published. What a surprise to find myself in Syria behind the eyes of a teenaged girl, learning things I'd never otherwise know about that society and its beliefs. A painless and enjoyable way to broaden your horizons and the ending is riveting, too.
Aug 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book, at first glance, looked really interesting and eye-opening but when I started reading I found otherwise. Not only did it just confirm steroetypes based on Americans and Muslims, but I couldn't connect to the main character, Nadia. Her beleifs change every other chapter and she seemed to hate anyone and anything that wasn't just like her.
Karina Gonzalez
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me many different feelings, the way Nadia saw the world really struck me and I found myself asking many questions throughout the book. I loved it, took me back to the time when I first read The Breadwinner. Jolin did a fantastic job at capturing the voice of this young girl. I literary was holding my breath till the ending!
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
This started out a little slow, but about 70 pages in I got hooked. Toward the end I absolutely couldn't put this book down. I was looking forward to reading what happened next, though I wasn't sure what I wanted to happen. It was really cool reading about the varying opinions of America and the Iraq War. Altogether a very interesting and thought provoking read.
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