Budhos, Marina. Watched. Wendy Lamb Books, 2016. $17.99. ISBN 9780553534184. 265pgs. Ages 12+. P8Q8
Watched is a gripping story of a young Bangladeshi-American boy who struggles with cultural expectations and growing up in the modern world. Naeem is a troubled teen- he lives a bit on the edge and gets by in school, at home and on the streets of Queens with his charm and sense of humor. When he gets picked up for shoplifting (set up by a troubled friend), his choice isn’t pretty. He can face the trouble or he can spy on the Muslim community for the police, who are looking for terrorist plots around every corner. Eventually he gives in and spies- he knows in his gut that it’s wrong but is trapped by the situation and lured in with easy money.
Verdict: These days with the threat of a Muslim registry in the air and stories of racism and xenophobia on the news every day, this story is extremely relevant.
November 2016 review by Carol Schramm.