Entering senior year of high school, Layla loves tennis, academics, her boyfriend David, and her parents. Her very normal life plunges into a living nightmare when American Muslims are rounded up and sent to internment camps, similar to Manzanar and the other camps used during WWII. The Mobius Camp has been set up as a model of efficiency, where Layla and her parents are forced to be barcoded, live in a small Mercury Home Trailer, and have their every move watched by armed guards and drones. The Director is a sadist who delights in his role of humiliating the internees and enforcing the seemingly endless rules of the camp.
When it seems that most of the adults are going to follow along, Layla and a group of teens start to plan to fight for their rights. When their small beginning actions turn into a major resistance, Layla becomes the main target of the Director. With help from unexpected allies and a growing movement outside of the prison, it seems the resistance is making strides……until the Director detains Layla in a prison within the prison.
As the author says “this book is set 15 minutes in the future.” It is an incredibly jarring and powerful look at what can happen in a short period of time when people are deemed enemies. Basing her work on research from past internment camps and the resistance movement of The White Rose students during WWII, Ahmed has crafted an incredible testament to courage and ultimately hope.