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Book Club Pick

Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan

Book Club Pick: July 2021

Title: Kick the Moon

Author: Muhammad Khan

Series: Stand alone novel

Country: Great Britain

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

First Published: 2019

Pages: 282

Publisher Description:

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.

Review:

Ilyas Mian is a fifteen-year-old British-Pakistani comic-book enthusiast from South London.

The novel opens with a young excited Ilyas going to school in a Superman costume for a book character dress-up day. His classmates tease him saying that Superman can’t be brown.

This moment not only illustrates how cruel children can be but also inspires a teenage Ilyas to create his own British-Pakistani superhero, PakCore, and later Big Bad Waf.

Ilyas has a strained relationship with his father who buys into the ‘boys don’t cry’ image of masculinity. His relationship with his older social-media obsessed sister Shaista isn’t any better. His librarian mother is the only one who appears to understand him.

While in detention he meets a kindred spirit in Kelly Matthews, a wealthy student who feels like an outsider. Kelly has dreams of being a fiction writer, so together they collaborate on one of Ilyas’ stories.

Unfortunately Kelly attracts the attention of Imran, the leader of DedManz, a youth gang that Ilyas is caught up with.

Kick the Moon explores many of the pressures that young people face today including bullying, toxic masculinity, sexism, misogyny, racism, gang culture, revenge porn, parental pressures, and identity.