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Amal Unbound

Narrated by: Priya Ayyar
Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (124 ratings)
Regular price: $21.00
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Publisher's Summary

Aisha Saeed's middle-grade debut tells the compelling story of a girl's fight to regain her life and dreams after being forced into indentured servitude.

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal's Pakistani village, but she has no complaints, and besides, she's busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when - as the eldest daughter - she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn't lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens - after an accidental run-in with the son of her village's corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family's servant to pay off her own family's debt.

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal - especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal's growing awareness of the Khans' nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

©2018 Aisha Saeed (P)2018 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

“A Pakistani girl’s dreams of an education dissolve when she is forced into indentured servitude.... Amal narrates, her passion for learning, love for her family, and despair at her circumstance evoked with sympathy and clarity, as is the setting. Inspired by Malala Yousafzai and countless unknown girls like her, Saeed’s timely and stirring middle-grade debut is a celebration of resistance and justice.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

“Readers will find that a little perseverance and a heart filled with hope can eventually surmount a harsh reality. Saeed fills her prose with lush descriptions of Pakistani life, while still managing to connect with readers whose surroundings and experiences will be starkly different. Hand to any reader who struggles with definitive gender roles, norms, and expectations held in place by societal structures.” (Booklist)

“This simple yet lyrical novel paints an evocative picture of life in a small village in modern-day Pakistan, especially the limits placed on girls and women.... It may serve as a read-alike or a gateway to stories such as Yousafzai’s autobiography, I Am Malala; The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah; and Saeed’s debut novel, Written in the Stars.” (The Voice of Youth Advocates)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Global Read Aloud 2018

I purchased this title to see if it would be a good fit for my students during the Global Read Aloud. I am so glad I choose the narrated version. Priya Ayyar brought life to the characters the Aisha Saeed created. This is a story that all middle grade students should hear. The themes presented in this book will lead to deep discussions. I can't wait to share this gift with my students.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LL
  • 05-21-18

A Story for All Ages

I heard Aisha Saeed speak about her first book Written in the Stars years ago at a bookstore event. Since then I have followed her on Twitter. When she announced Amal Unbound, she explained that it was a book about a girl but for all genders and was geared towards middle grades but a story for all ages. I took a chance and was not disappointed. The story is just as lush and hopeful as the gorgeous cover and Priya Ayyar's narration was perfect.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good message, but not very climatic

I enjoyed this book and agree with the message that it portrays. However, the storyline was a little flat and could have used more conflict. I would still recommend it to my students.

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Grace Burk's

This is an awesome book.
I liked that she stood up for herself.
I recommend this book for 6th grade & up.
I love this book and it is a very very very good book.

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Suitable for young readers

Tells a compelling story of a young girl that is practically being enslaved, but without going into descriptions of bloody horrors

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A New Cinderella

This story is a unique, worldly retelling of Cinderella. Saeed writes, and Ayyar narrates, the story of Amal, a girl with big dreams forced to work off her family's debts.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Doesn't captivate the reader

The reading is dull and monotonous and the story has a lot of irrelevant details that bore the reader

0 of 1 people found this review helpful