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What to expect

‘Through her courageous resistance, she has, for a moment, drawn global attention to the ongoing struggle of Saudi women. The striking image of a young woman, wielding nothing but a cellphone, facing down the force of an oppressive government is an apt metaphor for this fraught moment in Saudi Arabia’s history.’

A gripping true story of bravery and sacrifice by a young woman whose escape from Saudi Arabia captivated the world.

In early 2019, after more than a year of careful planning, Rahaf Mohammed boarded a plane and finally escaped from Saudi Arabia. If caught, she was sure she would be killed, like other rebel women who had tried to flee her country’s oppressive regime.

But the eighteen-year-old only made it as far as Bangkok before her passport was taken away. It was a trick, and soon she found herself trapped, barricaded in a hotel room. As men pounded on her door, the teenager decided to reach out to the world on Twitter – and the world answered. Her account gained forty-five thousand followers overnight and offered her a vital lifeline. This was Rahaf’s chance at a new life, the one she had dreamed of.

Now Rahaf tells her remarkable story for the first time and reveals the dystopian reality of what life is like for women within Saudi Arabia. From the guardianship system, which places unmarried women under the full control of their male relatives, to the secretive online underground network of Saudi runaways plotting their escape, Rebel is a gripping memoir of resistance and bravery by a woman determined to tell the truth about life in the closed kingdom.

Critics Review

  • ‘Rebel is an eye-opening look into a closed kingdom, and a grim reminder of a place where women’s rights are still far from recognised.’ Daily Mail

    ‘Mohammed brings alive her austere classrooms, the rages of her domineering brothers, the desires of girls like her and the sorrow of such oppression. Her story is that of many more without a voice who cannot rise above their circumstances. She speaks for them in a dignified, raw manner.’ Observer, Book of the Day

    ‘Mohammed, who garnered international headlines as a teenager in 2019 when she fled Saudi Arabia and was detained by authorities in Thailand, recounts her daring path to liberation in this potent debut. . . . Her scorching indictment serves as a beacon for women worldwide yearning for freedom.’—Publishers Weekly

    ‘A harrowing account of a Saudi woman’s triumph over oppression. . . . Mohammed creates a tense narrative of her desperate flight, the efforts of her powerful father to stop her, and the determined journalist who came to her aid. An absorbing chronicle of courage.’—Kirkus Reviews

    ‘Rebel makes it clear that the cultural honor/shame dynamic and the male guardianship system continue to weigh heavily on the daily lives of Saudi women and their moral universe, through a complex mixture of psychological, cultural and religious elements. Rahaf ultimately fled the Kingdom, under cover of darkness by the skin of her teeth, in order to spread her wings. Saudi women deserve better, safer options for their future.’
    AYAAN HIRSI ALI, author of Infidel and Prey

    ‘An inspiring read that will leave you shaking with fury, and then cheering in solidarity’
    SOPHIE MCNEILL, Human Rights Watch, author of We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know

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