There is no question that both before and after she was shot, Malala Yousafzai was a courageous young girl who stood up for what she believed, allowed to do this by her supportive family. This book centres on Malala's life with her family and in her quest not only to become educated herself, but that all girls be educated. Much like Susan B. Anthony, she grew up in a home where the value and opinions of women was valued above society; in this case in a society that, under the fear of the rising terrorism my the Taliban, was moving back in a direction where women would have no value other than as the property of the men controlling their lives.
The story told is generally known, so I won't sum it up here. I was greatly disappointed by the quality of writing; Malala, based on her speaking abilities and grades, is obviously a bright young girl when this was happening. Urdi is her first language, and naturally when this book was being written she was still fairly new in the English speaking world. It's one thing to study English in your home country, but it's an entirely different kettle of fish to suddenly find yourself surrounded by it and to work on becoming fluent while recovering from severe injuries. However, she didn't write it alone. Speeches and books aren't written the exact same way. I felt the writing could have lived more, shown more of the depth of Malala. It was helpful that she was showing that she has normal fears and weaknesses common to youth and even adults, but I never felt it, just read the words about it. Even for a young adult novel I felt we were only scratching the surface and the book felt almost pedantic at times.
This is rather sad, because this story is one of many important stories that join together in a chorus calling for help for women in girls throughout the world. It helps open up a window into what it's like living through a terrorist war, but the writing missed the mark time after time.
I hope that someday as Malala matures, she will write something on her own, perhaps, that will help us understand better. Not everyone is a writer, of course, but I think in this case she was just too young when this was written to write it.