Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today is my stop on the blog tour for Muhammad Khan’s latest release, Mark My Words.
Isn’t the truth as simple as black and white? Mark My Words is the searing novel from Branford Boase Award-winner and 2020 World Book Day author Muhammad Khan, asking who you can trust when all you see is lies.
Fifteen-year-old Dua Iqbal has always had trouble minding her own business. With a silver-tongue and an inquisitive nature, a career in journalism seems fated. When her school merges with another to form an Academy, Dua seizes her chance and sets up a rival newspaper, exposing the controversial stories that teachers and the kids who rule the school would rather keep buried.
Dua’s investigations are digging up things she shouldn’t get involved with about family, friends and her community and as exams rattle towards her, she needs to make some hard decisions about when to leave things alone. But when she discovers that some kids at school are being blamed for selling drugs when the real perpetrator is right in front of their noses, she can’t keep quiet any longer.
‘A voice long overdue in British fiction’ Alex Wheatle on I Am Thunder
‘Khan has created a book steeped in drama and empathy, as well as providing two iconic superheroes’ Nikesh Shukla on Kick the Moon
Mark My Words starts out strong and well paced, with a protagonist you can’t help but feel motivated by. She cares strongly about her community, and with the support of her best friend Liam, moves to start a rival newspaper after she is shot down by a full-scale traditional mean girl movement in their new location.
Quickly, however, things begin to escalate for Dua, both in and out of school, and she is faced with challenges that even the summer before she couldn’t have anticipated. There was a huge amount of representation, of issues that happen in school and of issues that impact on the whole population, and Dua is keen to make sure that these problems are brought to the attention of those in her school.
She does this despite knowing she is putting her neck on the line, and I had a huge amount of respect for her as a protagonist and as a teenage girl, because there is no harder time to be true to yourself than when you are still working out who you are. For Dua to be so certain in herself, and to stand up in front of others about what is right and wrong, I thought was admirable, and is just the kind of thing we need to see more of from female characters especially in books aimed at young adults.
Overall, I found this book to be engaging and a valuable witness to how we are living. Tackling issues ranging from slut-shaming to drugs to colourism to mental health, Mark My Words will strike you hard and leave you deep in thought for a long time after.
Thanks for stopping by today to read this post, and a big thank you to MacMillian Children’s Books for sending my copy of Mark My Words. Be sure to check out the other bloggers and Twitter users mentioned in the image above to read what they have to say too.