The Resource Watched
- Statement of responsibility
- Marina Budhos
- Far from the "model teen," Naeem moves fast to outrun the eyes of his hardworking Bangladeshi parents, their gossipy neighbors, and the other forms of surveillance in his immigrant neighborhood in Queens, but when his mistakes catch up with him and the police offer a dark deal, will Naeem be a hero or a traitor?
- Notable Books for a Global Society, 2017
- YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2017.
- YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2017.
- /* Starred Review */ Gr 7 Up—Naeem Rahman is a Bangladeshi immigrant and high school senior who lives in a Muslim neighborhood in Queens, where everyone is under surveillance because of fear of terrorist activity. His parents are struggling to make a living from their corner store, and they hope Naeem will be more successful than they are. However, he is more interested in street life and taking chances with the law than he is in studying. When his friend Ibrahim entices him into shoplifting and then abandons him to the cops, the protagonist is offered a deal: he can become an informant and spy on his Muslim neighbors, or he can face charges and most likely go to prison. He chooses the former. At first, this doesn't seem too bad. Naeem is making money, and he rationalizes that this is a way to do something good. He starts attending mosque and participating in a Muslim teen volunteer group, but when he doesn't find anything particularly alarming to report, the cops begin pressuring him to come up with better leads. Eventually, Naeem becomes involved in a scheme to entrap Ibrahim into incriminating activity, and he has to make some hard moral choices. This is a fast-moving, gripping tale that conveys Naeem's restlessness and the sense of paranoia that comes from being watched constantly. Budhos perfectly captures the gritty details of daily life in a Queens neighborhood, as well as the nuances of different immigrant groups. VERDICT Highly recommended because of its very timely subject matter; this would be a great choice for a book club or classroom discussion.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ --Kathleen E. Gruver (Reviewed 06/01/2016) (School Library Journal, vol 62, issue 6, p101)
- A Muslim teen adrift in his post-9/11 Queens neighborhood makes a dangerous bargain in a stirring novel about coming of age amid intensive police surveillance and racial profiling. After 11-year-old Naeem travels from Bangladesh to Jackson Heights to live with his father, stepmother, and half-brother, he begins a slow slide from treasured firstborn to charming but failing slacker. By senior year, Naeem mostly spends time cruising around with his older friend, Ibrahim, who is the reason Naeem gets caught with stolen merchandise after a mall trip. Two NYPD detectives offer Naeem a deal: he can become everything his community fears—a watcher, a rat—or his shoplifting will become more than a stupid mistake. Naeem immerses himself in the Muslim community, feeding what seems like innocuous information to the police, unsure whether he’s the hero or villain in his own story. Through Naeem’s perceptive, conflicted narration, Budhos (Tell Us We’re Home) captures the tug of youthful innocence leeching away as hard, unjust realities set in with a mix of apprehension and genuine emotion. Ages 12–up. Agency: Brandt & Hochman. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed 06/13/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 24, p)
- Naeem, a teenager living in an immigrant neighborhood in Queens, finds his grip on life slipping.With his performance in school deteriorating, he feels unable to deal with the disappointment of his hardworking and hopeful Bangladeshi parents—and then there are the inquisitive eyes and mouths of their neighbors. Hoping to avoid them, Naeem keeps himself constantly on the move. But he is always aware that he is always being watched, by cops and by cameras placed all around. He's taken small risks, but close calls have not been enough to deter him, until one day his past mistakes catch up with him and he has to make a choice between paying dearly or taking a deal the cops offer him: to become a watcher and help them spy on the people in his neighborhood. Having previously written about immigrant teens in Tell Us We're Home (2010) and Ask Me No Questions (2006), Budhos again tackles identity and belonging or lack thereof, as well as Islamophobia and growing up under surveillance. It's a slow story, appropriately filled with uncertainty. Action takes second place to a deeper message, and room is left for readers to speculate on the fates of certain characters. While the absence of certainty may frustrate some readers, it also speaks to the underlying takeaway: you can never be sure what others' intentions are, even if you have made it your job to study them. (Thriller. 12-18)(Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2016)
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