Saturday, April 11, 2020

Book Review: "We Didn't Ask for This" by Adi Alsaid

It’s the annual lock-in night at Central International School, the night where students stay at school and enjoy fun events and a legendary secret party planned by a fellow student. It’s a night they look forward to all year, and younger students can’t wait until they’re in high school to experience it.

For some students this will be the night—the night they let their crush know what they’re thinking, the night they prove they’re the best athlete in the school regardless of gender, the night they finally feel like they belong. And for one student, this is the night to follow in his dying brother's footsteps and throw an unbelievable party.

But for one student, this night is the opportunity to take a stand against climate change. Knowing so many students have powerful parents from around the world, she and her supporters have a plan—they’ll chain themselves to every entrance, swallow the keys, and not move until their demands are met. And these aren’t just superficial demands: in some cases they’re asking for sweeping changes to society, like the ceasing of construction on an island.

We Didn't Ask for This follows the aftermath of the students chaining themselves to the doors and how everyone deals with it, from the students and the teachers in the school to those outside. I thought that the original premise of the story was such a good one, but this concept—while I understand the importance of standing up for our climate—just didn’t work. It dragged on way too long and was totally unrealistic, especially when the school had no windows that could open or other things.

I enjoy Adi Alsaid’s writing, as I’ve read some of his other books. I loved the way that the students’ sexuality was so matter-of-fact and no one cared, and a number of the characters were really appealing. I just wish the book didn't feel like two stories melded together into one.

I was part of the blog tour for this book. Thanks to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review!!

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