Amal Unbound

Amal Unbound

Book - 2018
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"Twelve-year-old Amal's dream of becoming a teacher one day is dashed in an instant when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village's ruling family. As punishment for her behavior, she is forced to leave her heartbroken family behind and go work at their estate. Amal is distraught but has faced setbacks before. So she summons her courage and begins navigating the complex rules of life as a servant, with all its attendant jealousies and pecking-order woes. Most troubling, though, is Amal's increasing awareness of the deadly measures the Khan family will go to in order to stay in control. It's clear that their hold over her village will never loosen as long as everyone is too afraid to challenge them--so if Amal is to have any chance of ensuring her loved ones' safety and winning back her freedom, she must find a way to work with the other servants to make it happen."--Page [2] of cover.
Publisher: New York, NY : Nancy Paulsen Books, [2018]
ISBN: 9780399544682
Characteristics: 226 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Gr 5-8–Amal is an aspiring teacher in a Punjabi village in rural Pakistan, but the tween has to stay home to run the household while her mother recovers from postpartum depression. When she angers the local landlord, Amal must pay off her father’s debts by becoming an indentured servant to the co... Read More »

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Jun 30, 2019

This book tells us about a 12 year old Pakistani girl. One day she is taken away from her family and taken to some unknown persons house. In the house she has to learn to survive on her own. I thought this was a entertaining and heartwarming book.

I would really recommend this book to grade 4 and up.

Mar 02, 2019

Amal is a girl swept up in circumstances, and though she is a little passive sometimes, she stands up when it counts. Her story tugs at the heartstrings and makes you want to cheer for her, too. The depictions of Pakistan's culture are rich in detail without over-explaining for the unfamiliar, which is actually pretty nice. It's not put on a pedestal to be the Interesting Other, it simply *is* Pakistan. (I do recommend a quick Google, if you run across terms you're not familiar with -- you will be rewarded with pictures of delicious foods and beautiful fashions, I found.)

Hand to students who need to know how good they have it, as well as to kids who might see similar struggles with poverty in their own lives. (This book pairs well with The Benefits of Being an Octopus for depictions of real-life poverty that don't get a lot of air time.) Bonus points if your intended reader knows of Malala Yousafzai's real-world struggle to promote education for girls.

Feb 08, 2019

It was lovely and culturally rich. Great for middle grade; my big issue is I kept waiting for the shoe to drop... and then it was done. Beautiful, but not a thrilling ride.

Jan 12, 2019

A unique novel about a 12-year old Pakistani girl who is forced into indentured servitude. Amal's grit and determination is to be admired, and it was a quick, easy read with an absolutely beautiful cover. However, I think making this a middle grade novel did it a slight disservice, as the trauma experienced by Amal (and her family) seemed a bit too "surface" for what was really happening to her, and some "side elements" (ie: the mother's deep depression and sadness over birthing another daughter; the true corruption and terror of the evil landlord, the willingness of seemingly decent people to overlook and abide by others' evil deeds, etc.) weren't really developed. A YA would have better been able to explore the harsher realities and the true terror with more honest introspection and detailed description. The writing itself was incredibly solid, so I do think it deserves high stars. I just think it would have gotten more stars from me if it had swum a little deeper into reality.

Jan 08, 2019

The cover of this book speaks volumes. Amal's story is at times heartbreaking and inspiring. Despite being forced into indentured servitude, she does not give up. The despair one might feel in such circumstances could be paralyzing, but Amal has had dreams of college and a career as a teacher. Even though those dreams seem to be crushed, she still finds ways to make the lives of those around her better. You can't help rooting for her and being so impressed by the things she accomplishes even while she is trapped by the feudal system that still exists in her village.

My sister-in-law has been reading this book to her 4th grade class. I know many other classes would be changed and enlightened by this book. Highly recommended!

OPL_AmyW Aug 29, 2018

Amal, a 12 year old Pakistani girl, dreams of finishing school and becoming a teacher one day, despite the obstacles in her path. After insulting a dangerous, wealthy landowner, Amal is forced to work for him as an indentured servant and fears she will never be able to return home or accomplish her dreams. Amal's ability to read, a rarity among Pakistani girls of limited means, may allow her save herself and even her entire village, if she is brave enough to tell the truth about the murderous landlord. Will Amal risk her life and her entire family for a chance to be free?

OPL_KrisC Apr 26, 2018

This is a heart-wrenching and compelling story of a young Pakistani girl who insults the wrong person in her village and is then forced serve that person's family. It kept my attention from the beginning to the very end. The cover is gorgeous and I found this a pretty quick read.


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OPL_KrisC Apr 26, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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