“Irresistibly appealing and genuinely inspiring—a story that helps us to see the world more clearly, and to see ourselves as powerful enough to change it.” —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award Winner When You Reach Me

In this compelling companion to New York Times bestseller Amal Unbound, Amal's friend Omar must contend with being treated like a second-class citizen when he gets a scholarship to an elite boarding school.


Omar knows his scholarship to Ghalib Academy Boarding School is a game changer, providing him—the son of a servant—with an opportunity to improve his station in life. He can't wait to experience all the school has to offer, especially science club and hopefully the soccer team; but when he arrives, his hopes are dashed. First-year scholarship students aren't allowed to join clubs or teams—and not only that, they have to earn their keep doing menial chores. At first Omar is dejected—but then he gets angry when he learns something even worse—the school deliberately "weeds out" kids like him by requiring them to get significantly higher grades than kids who can pay tuition, making it nearly impossible for scholarship students to graduate. It's a good thing that in his favorite class, he’s learned the importance of being stubbornly optimistic. So with the help of his tightknit new group of friends—and with the threat of expulsion looming over him—he sets out to do what seems impossible: change a rigged system.
Praise for Omar Rising:

★ "Saeed thoughtfully portrays the power dynamics and income inequality present at Ghalib while also highlighting the strong bonds Omar creates with his fellow scholarship winners. The cooperation and organization the boys demonstrate while figuring out how to advocate for themselves also serve as inspiring models for readers. A powerful tale about a preteen pushing back against systemic injustice." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ "Saeed has successfully created multi-layered characters who are rich in their culture, their drive to succeed, and their family values. A richly woven tale with characters all will root for; readers will be outraged at life’s unfairness, and cheer for Omar’s success. A stellar novel which may open eyes to the inequities many young people face in their lives." —School Library Journal, starred review

"An uplifting story about an underdog whose work ethic and 'stubbornly optimistic' outlook drive him to make real change for himself and others while gaining the confidence that no matter what other challenges life brings, he 'will be okay.'” —Horn Book

"Will he be kept down, or will he fight the system? Fight, of course! Saeed has woven an
illuminating and inspiring companion to the popular Amal Unbound (2018), giving readers a
wonderfully detailed look at life in Pakistan. Readers will root for Omar and his friends, deflate
when they are detoured, and rise with their successes. An excellent story of perseverance that
resonates long after the last page." —Booklist

“Irresistibly appealing and genuinely inspiring—a story that helps us to see the world more clearly, and to see ourselves as powerful enough to change it.” —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award Winner When You Reach Me