Watched, a novel by Marina BudhosPublished by Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, September 13th, 2016.   Now out in paperback!

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Naeem is far from a ‘model teen.’ Moving fast in his immigrant neighborhood in Queens is the only way he can outrun the eyes of his hardworking Bangladeshi parents and their gossipy neighbors. Even worse, they’re not the only ones watching: Cameras on poles … Mosques infiltrated … Everyone knows: Be careful what you say and who you say it to. Anyone might be a watcher.

Naeem thinks he can charm his way through anything, until mistakes catch up with him and the cops offer a dark deal. Naeem sees a way to be a hero—a protector—like the guys in his brother’s comic books. Yet what is a hero? What is a traitor? Where does Naeem belong?

Marina Budhos’ extraordinary and timely novel examines what it’s like to grow up under surveillance, something many Americans experience and most Muslim Americans know. Naeem’s riveting story takes us beyond today’s headlines—into one young boy’s vivid, coming of age journey.

2016-2017 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature YA Honor, Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA)

Honor Book for YA, The Walter Award, We Need Diverse Books

YALSA Best YA Fiction for Young Adults, 2017 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

2017 A Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best, 2016

Pick 2016 Notable Books for a Global Society

CCBC YA Choice, 2016

“Malhotra was the perfect match for this audio, which will find fans in those who are looking for a diverse read about overcoming the racism facing many Muslim Americans today.”-Booklist Review, starred audiobook review

“… a stirring novel about coming of age amid intensive police surveillance and racial profiling … “—Publisher’s Weekly

“Budhos presents another effective coming-of-age novel, one that not only confronts without reservation the notion of Islamaphobia and issues of teenage identity but also tackles the grittier aspects of life in this post-9/11 era. What does it mean to belong to a family? a community? a country? “—Booklist

“Budhos thoughtfully explores the complex and sometimes conflicting intricacies of a bicultural identity in this slow-boil tale. Naeem’s first-person narrative, strained with uncertainty, ramps up the tension: whom can he really trust, and does he have the full picture, or just the parts others want him to see?”
The Horn Book

“… A fast-moving, gripping tale that conveys the sense of paranoia that comes from being watched constantly … a great choice for a book club or classroom discussion.”—School Library Journal, starred



The Pro-Active Author Interview


From the APALA Award Ceremony



“What an exquisite writer, Marina Budhos. Watched will pull you into its world with magnetic, graceful power—characters so sensitively drawn – deeply touching scenes of immigrant life and relationship—this is a hauntingly perfect, potent story for this moment.”
Naomi Shihab Nye, author, Habib

“I loved this book, a tense, realistic thriller set right now in a time of homeland insecurity. What does a New York high school senior by way of Bangladesh do when he’s being squeezed by the cops, his family, his friends, and what’s left of his conscience?”
Robert Lipsyte, author, The Contender

“Nobody portrays the dizzying world of growing up Muslim during the War on Terror better than Marina Budhos. Watched, her latest book, beats with suspense, as we follow young Naeem down a path full of wrong choices and dangerous acquaintances. Delving bravely into the real human costs of today’s shadowy surveillance culture, Watched reveals profound immigrant truths about survival and betrayal, and what it really means to feel like you belong. Everyone should read this necessary book.”—Moustafa Bayoumi, author, This Muslim-American Life & How Does it Feel To be a Problem?

“In this beautiful and intelligent novel, Marina Budhos explores whether the ties of family, community and faith can save an immigrant Muslim teenager, Naeem, caught in the cross-currents of poverty, discrimination and suspicion in America. It brings to chilling life the corrupting effects of official surveillance—for both watched and watchers. It’s a moving story about the painful conflicts and choices forced by a paranoid society on a boy who yearns only for normalcy.

Watched renders a powerful public service. No one who reads it – young or old – will come away without empathy and compassion for the thousands of ‘Naeems’ now residing in this nation.”
Patricia McCormick, author, Sold

“I couldn’t tear my eyes off Naeem’s story. A wonderful character, full of heart, however conflicted, and his coming of age tale is unlike any I’ve come across: of a person, a people, under surveillance. Budhos beautifully explores fundamental questions: What is it to be innocent? To be guilty? What is it to be brave? To betray? And how an everyday life under scrutiny can turn suspicious at the drop of a hat, the click of a CCTV camera…yet a love-filled gaze can find beauty in this same life—in ambiguity, the shades of grey, discover likely innocence rather than a criminal-in-the-making.

Though lost in his own gorgeously, grittily depicted multicultural neighborhood, Naeem finds his way home again. Inspiring, stimulating, and very moving.”
Tanuja Desai Hidier, author of Born Confused & Bombay Blues

“Compelling and timely…Naeem’s experiences mirror those of many Muslim, Arab and South Asian teenagers navigating their lives in the backdrop of post 9/11 America. Budhos’ writing is fast-paced and vibrant, reflecting the energy, turmoil and strength that infuse the lives of the immigrant families.”
Deepa Iyer, author, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future

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