Thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending my this eARC. It does not affect my opinions of the book.
I read I Am Thunder last year and loved it so I was really looking forward to reading Kick the Moon and was really excited when I was approved for the arc! It’s safe to say that I loved this book even more than the I Am Thunder!
Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Fifteen-year-old Ilyas is under pressure from everyone: GCSE’s are looming and his teachers just won’t let up, his dad wants him to join the family business and his mates don’t care about any of it. There’s no space in Ilyas’ life to just be a teenager.
Serving detention one day, Ilyas finds a kindred spirit in Kelly Matthews, who is fed up with being pigeonholed as the good girl, and their friendship blows the social strata of high school wide open. But when Kelly catches the eye of one of the local bad boys, Imran, he decides to seduce her for a bet – and Ilyas is faced with losing the only person who understands him. Standing up to Imran puts Ilyas’ family at risk, but it’s time for him to be the superhero he draws in his comic-books, and go kick the moon.
I read this book in one sitting, I just could not put it down! It’s a book that deals with many social issues prevalent in today’s society and I felt it handled it really well. Like his first book, I feel that many teenagers will relate to this and is a book I feel young boys should read. The main character being Pakistani Muslim is not something that we see in books, especially YA books and I hope we get to see more because we need more representation of young Muslim boys and girls.
There are so many important issues addressed in this book, they are interwoven really well and feel like a natural part of the story and not forced. The main theme that is addressed in this book is toxic masculinity and how this can affect not only the boys life but also those around him. He also addresses sexism, racism and prejudice. And how these can all be interlinked.
Ilyas has to deal with so much, he was a really well rounded character and so relatable. He was brought up with the “boys don’t cry” mentality and you can see how much it affects him. How showing emotion and being “soft” is seen as unmanly. He doesn’t enjoy sports like the other boys, instead he loves to draw comics and loves his rabbit. All things which are perfectly fine but he’s taught it’s not from his dad and his friends and the society around him. I felt so much for Ilyas because I have seen this growing up. Watching people tell my cousins that boys don’t cry and essentially teaching that they should not show emotion. So they never learn how to manage their emotions. They learn to hide parts of themselves if it doesn’t match what they are taught about what makes them a “man”. It just makes them unhappy and stressed and can lead them down a bad path like it did for Ilyas.
I loved that the gang culture, peer pressure and cliques were also addressed in this book. I’m sure it’s something we all saw while in school and were all affected by it. When Ilyas stands up for what is right, he puts himself and his family at risk. The fear he feels felt so real and it made me really root for him because it takes strength to stand up and fight for what’s right. I also loved Kelly, who is a reflection of the rich, privileged school girls and how this privilege gives them an advantage over other students. It was nice to see that she realises her privilege.
One of my favourite parts was that Ilyas was an artist and that he drew comics. But not just any comic, one that represented him and other South Asians. I have always wanted to see a superhero who looked like me and I was so happy to see that in this book! I just want to read a whole comic based on his superhero! I really loved that Ilyas holds onto his identity of being Muslim and a Pakistani. It isn’t something we see enough of in books.
There is so much more I want to say but I don’t want to spoil anyone so I will just say this, this book deals with really heavy topics but it is also fun and uplifting and that representation is so important and I want more and I’m sure many others do as well! I highly recommend picking this book up and also reading his other book I Am Thunder if you haven’t!
Kick the Moon releases today, 24th January.