That Thing We Call a Heart
Shabnam Qureshi is a funny, imaginative Pakistani-American teen attending a tony private school in suburban New Jersey. When her feisty best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf without even consulting her, it begins to unravel their friendship. After hooking up with the most racist boy in school and telling a huge lie about a tragedy that happened to her family during the Partition of India in 1947, Shabnam is ready for high school to end. She faces a summer of boredom and regret, but she has a plan: Get through the summer. Get to college. Don’t look back. Begin anew.Everything changes when she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack, and meets her there every afternoon. Shabnam begins to see Jamie and herself like the rose and the nightingale of classic Urdu poetry, which, according to her father, is the ultimate language of desire. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating—her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but Farah finds Jamie worrying. With Farah’s help, Shabnam uncovers the truth about Jamie, about herself, and what really happened during Partition. As she rebuilds her friendship with Farah and grows closer to her parents, Shabnam learns powerful lessons about the importance of love, in all of its forms.Featuring complex, Muslim-American characters who defy conventional stereotypes and set against a backdrop of Radiohead’s music and the evocative metaphors of Urdu poetry, THAT THING WE CALL A HEART is a honest, moving story of a young woman's explorations of first love, sexuality, desire, self-worth, her relationship with her parents, the value of friendship, and what it means to be true.

That Thing We Call a Heart Details

TitleThat Thing We Call a Heart
Author
FormatKindle Edition
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 9th, 2017
PublisherHarperTeen
Number of pages288 pages
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, Romance

That Thing We Call a Heart Review

  • Emily May
    December 19, 2016
    “My arms are hairy, too,” I said. “Except I epilate them.”As she wrinkled her forehead, I realized too late that could be construed as an insult.“Do you always lead like that?” she asked.“Beginnings aren’t my strong point,” I admitted. From the very first page, I had a feeling I was going to love That Thing We Call a Heart. Shabnam's narrative voice snared me right away with her snark and humour, and it went on to become a really great book about friendship, Islam and Urdu poetry. It also manag “My arms are hairy, too,” I said. “Except I epilate them.”As she wrinkled her forehead, I realized too late that could be construed as an insult.“Do you always lead like that?” she asked.“Beginnings aren’t my strong point,” I admitted. From the very first page, I had a feeling I was going to love That Thing We Call a Heart. Shabnam's narrative voice snared me right away with her snark and humour, and it went on to become a really great book about friendship, Islam and Urdu poetry. It also managed to surprise me, which doesn't happen too often in YA Contemporary anymore.This is an ownvoices story about a Pakistani-American teenager and explores the diversity among Muslims. We see the difference between Shabnam, her mother, her best friend Farah, and Farah's devout mother. Karim shows how there is no one way to be Muslim, especially in today's world, and especially for women. Farah is a strong-willed, punk-loving feminist who wears a hijab and is proud of it. She describes herself as: I’m too Muslim for the non-Muslims, but not Muslim enough for the Muslims. Shabnam is actually quite uncomfortable when Farah firsts starts wearing the headscarf, and she is not sure if she even considers herself Muslim. She defies conventional Islam, though many of her family are more conservative and traditional. Non-Muslim readers would do well to pay attention: Islam covers a diverse group of people who all have different beliefs and behaviours. Some are extremely pious, others not so much. Some Muslim women very feminist, others not. What really surprised me about That Thing We Call a Heart is that I thought I knew what I was getting into: another cute contemporary romance, but with a Muslim protagonist. Oh, how wrong I was. It wasn't what I was expecting, and that was great. It's actually about the importance of friendship, in this case between Muslim teenage girls, and about poetry. It contains honest (and funny) discussions about all the hairy smelliness of being a teenager. It's also a seriously sarcastic takedown of racism, cultural stereotypes, Islamophobia, and ignorance. Some of the humour is pretty dark: Right before lunch, a freshman I’d never seen before stopped me and said, “Hey, man, sorry about your uncle getting gassed.”“No one got gassed during Partition,” I told him. “You’re thinking of a different genocide.” Also, Farah is a queen of awesome: Ashish asked, “I don’t understand why the Muslims don’t tell the terrorists to stop?”For Farah, this was some kind of breaking point, the end of nice.She clapped her hand over her mouth. “Oh. My. God. You are so right! Hold on—” She took out her phone and pretended to dial. “Hello, Terrorists? Hi! Can you please stop blowing stuff up, it’s becoming a real drag. You will stop? No more beheadings, no more suicide bombs? Awesome, thanks! What? Can I stop US hegemony? Sure, no problem, I’ll make sure it’s over by tomorrow. All right, later! Holy shit, Ashish, thanks to you I just saved the world.” I loved her so so much. So much.Just to warn you, though: if you were offended by the content/quotes from the recent The Black Witch scandal, I don't recommend reading this book. Shabnam is a complex, messy teenager and, as such, she does some really unlikeable things. Some of her comments could be construed as racist, fatphobic - I’d gained at least a pound in less than two days, not what you wanted to happen when you were about to start college. Between breaking up and the freshman fifteen, I’d be a water buffalo by May. - or just bad taste. But, as she says: “I’m not your miracle, I’m just a regular screwed-up teenage girl" Maybe this doesn't count for something for others, but it does for me. I thought she was a sympathetic, realistic character and I can't wait to see what characters this author creates in the future. That Thing We Call a Heart was just a hilarious, smart and charming novel.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Cait • A Page with a View
    February 12, 2017
    Publication date: May 9, 2017If you're only reading a few books this spring, make sure this is one of them. The whole thing is so well done!!This was a coming-of-age story that takes place during Shabnam Qureshia's last summer before college. When Shabnam's best friend Farah starts wearing hijab they begin to drift apart. Shabnam hates all of the attention where everything is now focused on Islam, so she doesn't always support her friend in public. Farah "worried that if she was too rude or sarc Publication date: May 9, 2017If you're only reading a few books this spring, make sure this is one of them. The whole thing is so well done!!This was a coming-of-age story that takes place during Shabnam Qureshia's last summer before college. When Shabnam's best friend Farah starts wearing hijab they begin to drift apart. Shabnam hates all of the attention where everything is now focused on Islam, so she doesn't always support her friend in public. Farah "worried that if she was too rude or sarcastic [people] might walk away with a bad impression of a religion that already had enough negative press. But this also meant she had to suppress her natural impulses, and it made her less fun." Farah fashions her headscarf into Princess Leia buns, wears a scarf with raised fists, has a totally unique sense of style, and is just unapologetically herself. She's an amazingly inspirational feminist and I'd love to have a whole other book with her rants: "I'm too Muslim for the non-Muslims, but not Muslim enough for the Muslims... but then I think, why does it matter what they think of me? I refuse to spend my life proving myself... I'm going to wear a headscarf and I'm going to pray and fast and I'm going to smoke ganja and I'm going to get into Harvard Medical School." "Rapunzel, my ass. I've got barbed wire and a moat around this tower.""That's why guys get away with being shitheads, because their baseline is so goddamn low, even lower if they're cute. Oh, you'd never date rape me? Awesome! Oh, you actually listened to something I said without talking over me? You're such a great guy!" At the start of the story Shabnam is embarrassed to be seen with her great-uncle who wears a black vest & shalwar kameez and has a long beard. While she's avoiding being seen with him at the mall she meets a random cute guy. Those two end up spending the summer working at a pie stand and Shabnam falls in love super fast like a Bollywood movie. (I wasn't that into the romance, but luckily it's NOT the cliche summer YA love story at all). Shabnam's socially awkward mathematician father has a deep love for Urdu poetry and they grow closer throughout the story by discussing it. I adored her father and all of the other scenes of ordinary moments like the Bosnian men playing cards in the donut shop. (PS I neeeeed a donut shop like that to be near me). This story really is about different types of love -- friendship, families, and romantic. All of the discussion of Sufi poets & love was SO well done, too. I think I might have been so enthusiastically into this story because it involved several topics I really care about (I've spent a lot of time studying the Bosnian genocide, Partition, and Sufi poets, so that was a solid blend for me). Those discussions were really powerful and so, so important. But at the same time I think this story is just straight up relatable no matter what!! If you know nothing about those topics, this would be an amazing place to start. The writing is really strong and gives Shabnam's narration a totally genuine and lovable tone. It was refreshing to see such casual & open discussions about love, sex, how people say ignorant things, body odor, religion, etc because it made all of the characters totally realistic. And the book feels like a character study, which actually worked really well because characters themselves are what make this book so utterly charming and powerful. I had to stop reading halfway through and preorder a finished copy because I was so into this story!Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC. These quotes were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
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  • Sarah
    May 3, 2017
    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) “Tell him, I thought. What do you have to lose?My pride, for one. And that thing we call a heart.” This was a YA contemporary story about a Pakistani-American girl called Shabnam, who had a summer romance.Shabnam was an okay character, although I didn’t like the way she made up a story about her great-uncle and his experiences during Partition. I also thought it was a little silly of her to let something (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) “Tell him, I thought. What do you have to lose?My pride, for one. And that thing we call a heart.” This was a YA contemporary story about a Pakistani-American girl called Shabnam, who had a summer romance.Shabnam was an okay character, although I didn’t like the way she made up a story about her great-uncle and his experiences during Partition. I also thought it was a little silly of her to let something like a headscarf come between her and her best friend, surely she should have just accepted her friend for who she was regardless of whether she was Muslim or wore a hijab?The storyline in this was about Shabnam meeting a boy called Jamie over the summer before going to university, and falling in love. There was some Urdu poetry involved, and a storyline about how Shabnam had fallen out with her best friend because she chose to wear a hijab, but mostly it was about Shabnam falling for Jamie, and Jamie not telling her that he loved her back. I did appreciate the friendship between Shabnam and Farah when it was back on though, and it was interesting to read a book with a Pakistani-American main character.The ending to this was alright, although it wasn’t exactly a happily ever after. 6.25 out of 10
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  • Lisa
    February 20, 2017
    I enjoyed this one! It was a quick read that boiled down to: growing up. Shabnam is a wonderfully flawed character. I appreciated getting a closer look at Pakistani culture and Muslim background. A contemporary to add to your TBR for sure.
  • Jen
    May 5, 2017
    Loved this one so much! Ah, that amazing feeling when you start a book and just click instantly with the narrator. I fell so in love with Shabnam's curious, snarky, sometimes politically incorrect take on life.This book takes place during the end of Shabnam's senior year and the summer between high school and college. Shabnam's stuck at home with her parents, forced to escort her visiting great-uncle to the Apple store for fun. When she's offered a job at a pie shack, she jumps at it, and develo Loved this one so much! Ah, that amazing feeling when you start a book and just click instantly with the narrator. I fell so in love with Shabnam's curious, snarky, sometimes politically incorrect take on life.This book takes place during the end of Shabnam's senior year and the summer between high school and college. Shabnam's stuck at home with her parents, forced to escort her visiting great-uncle to the Apple store for fun. When she's offered a job at a pie shack, she jumps at it, and develops a crush on her cute co-worker, a college student.Shabnam is Muslim and a first generation Pakistani-American. She's puzzled by her parents' marriage (ha- who isn't?) finding it hard to reconcile her mathematician father's detached absentmindedness with his preoccupation with Urdu ghazals (a structured yet ardent love poem). When she's called on in class when the class is discovering the Partition of India in 1947 (creating two separate nations, India and Pakistan) she impulsively makes up a huge lie about her family's experiences at the time. Shabnam has also drifted apart from her former best friend, Farah. When Farah started wearing hijab, Shabnam didn't understand how her fiercely independent, feminist friend could adopt what she saw as an oppressive custom. The story follows Shabnam's romance with Jamie and traces the ups and downs of her relationship with Farah. I just love books like this, books that teach me about a culture I'm not familiar with, but also remind me that we all have so much in common -- embarrassing parents, friendship troubles, dreams and insecurities about love. Highly recommend this to readers who love irreverent narrators and coming of age stories, and interesting portrayals of female friendship. Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin The FTC would like you to know that the publisher provided me a free advance copy of this book, that free books can be enjoyable or not, and other readers may disagree with my opinion.
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  • Lauren ✨ (YABookers)
    April 30, 2017
    Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.Shabnam is a Pakistani-American teen, just finishing up high school when her friendship with her feisty BFF Farah begins to unravel when Farah starts to wear a headscarf without consulting Shabnam. Shabnam starts to make some kind of bad decisions - from kissing the most racist boy in school to telling a huge lie about her family and the partition of India. The end of her school year is really starting to suck; but now Shabnam Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.Shabnam is a Pakistani-American teen, just finishing up high school when her friendship with her feisty BFF Farah begins to unravel when Farah starts to wear a headscarf without consulting Shabnam. Shabnam starts to make some kind of bad decisions - from kissing the most racist boy in school to telling a huge lie about her family and the partition of India. The end of her school year is really starting to suck; but now Shabnam needs to get through the summer before college. Things start looking up when she meets the charming and romantic Jamie who gets her a job at his Aunt's pie shack for the summer. Shabnam starts discovering her first love, Urdu poetry, and begins to repair her friendship with Farah - and with Farah's help, Shabnam discovers the truth about Jamie, and in turn, learns about the important of friendship and love in all it's forms. I really loved That Thing We Call A Heart. It deals with so many issues but it's done so seamlessly. It's about love and friendship, heartbreak, family, Urdu poetry, and forgotten history. Not to mention the characters are so well developed. I loved our protagonist Shabnam, and I especially loved Farah - our badass, hijab wearing, feminist BFF. Whilst romance is pretty big chunk of the book, That Thing We Call A Heart is definitely a book that explores love between friends and family. I loved her friendship with Farah. At times, Shabnam is a bad friend - she's selfish, and not exactly a good listener. When her best friend Farah starts wearing a headscarf, Shabnam is not exactly understanding; subconsciously, she starts to distance herself from Farah. I absoloutely adored Farah - she's empowering, feminist, funny, feisty and I would absolutely read a book dedicated solely to her. Thankfully, as the book progresses, Shabnam develops and repairs her relationship with Farah and realises how selfish she was being.Additionally, I adored her relationship with her parents. I loved her affectionate and caring mother, and I even enjoyed her passionate, yet lazy, father. I especially loved how Shabnam and her father connected over their love of Urdu poetry - it was definitely a lovely addition. I'm a sucker for loving and supporting familial relationships so this book is everything I look for in contemporary YA. And last but not least, there's lots of talk of what it's like to be a contemporary Muslim girl, defying conventional stereotypes, what's it's like to be a hijab-wearing Muslim girl and how that doesn't necessarily = good Muslim girl. "I'm too Muslim for the non-Muslims, but not Muslim enough for the Muslims. And the weird thing is, I realized I've been trying to prove to people that I'm cool, that yeah, I don't drink and whatever but I'm smart and funny and extremely un-oppressed, but I wonder, at the end of the day, will they secretly think a girl in hijab can never be that cool simply because she wears hijab? But then I think, why does it matter what they think of me? I refuse to spend my life proving myself, not to the Muslims, not to the non-Muslims. I'm going to wear a headscarf and I'm going to pray and fast and I'm going to smoke ganja and I'm going to get into Harvard Medical School." There's also discussions on the Partition of India and the Bosnian Genocide, two often forgotten parts of history.This book is a real gem. It tackles so many important relevant issues and I think it's messages about love and identity will resonate with a lot of readers.
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  • Allison
    January 16, 2017
    Really loved this! Great dynamic between Farah and Shabnam. Longer RTC.
  • Prabhleen⚔
    May 29, 2017
    this was such an important story and EVERYONE should read it. (especially if you are Indian or Pakistani)idek but the romance fell so frikking flat since summer flings = so not my thingat this point in time review probably never gonna come wow
  • Sam Kozbial
    May 14, 2017
    Shabnam was preparing to close the high school chapter of her life, just as "fate" brought Jamie into her world. This charming boy swept her off her feet, and she felt like she was simultaneously in the best and worst place of her life. Best, because she was falling in love. Worst, because she missed her best friend, Farah, who she had a falling out with. She hoped to both repair this friendship and give her heart to someone she thought was worthy.These are the type of diverse reads that I love. Shabnam was preparing to close the high school chapter of her life, just as "fate" brought Jamie into her world. This charming boy swept her off her feet, and she felt like she was simultaneously in the best and worst place of her life. Best, because she was falling in love. Worst, because she missed her best friend, Farah, who she had a falling out with. She hoped to both repair this friendship and give her heart to someone she thought was worthy.These are the type of diverse reads that I love. I have starting calling them "bridge books", because I believe they do such a good job of letting people of other faiths/cultures gain a little insight into another person's faith/culture. I was reading a review by Jen of YA Romantics, and she nailed what I think is so perfect about a book like this: while teaching us about differences, it also reminds us how we are the same. This has been my battle cry for so long, and I am elated to see so many books lately, that are doing this so well.I instantly took a liking to Shabnam. She was not great at editing her stream of consciousness, and some really amusing and honest things often came out. But it was ok, because she was growing and changing, and this was all part of her process. I was glad she went through this process, because in the beginning of the book, I was sort of disappointed in her. I thought she really under appreciated her parents, was insensitive to Farah's big life change, and made too much of an effort to impress people who should not have even mattered. But by the end of the book, I was so proud of all the work she did to mend her relationship with Farah, to build a relationship with her parents, and to get to know her roots a little better."You're Muslim?""My mother is," I told her. "What's your dad?""Weird." She snorted. "And what about you?" "Me? I'm...nothing.""You can't be nothing. At minimum, you're a Homo sapiens."The rift between Shabnam and Farah grew from Farah deciding to be a hijabi. Her choice to wear the scarf, and outwardly declare herself a Muslim made Shabnam uncomfortable. This whole storyline made me sad, because although I thought Shabnam should not be ashamed of being seen with Farah, I knew there was a whole lot of truth to her concerns, and that just made me ashamed of society."I knew a piece of cloth should't make a difference, that she was still the same person underneath, but it did make a difference."One aspect of this book, which I really loved, was the inclusion of Urdu poetry. Shabnam originally began asking her father about the poetry as a way to impress Jamie, but over time, it became a way for her to connect to her father. It was beautiful to see the relationship between Shabnam and her socially awkward mathematician father grow. Karim thoughtfully wove the poetry into the story, and each line selected was beautiful and meaningful within Shabnam's story."I felt like a different person than when he'd first visited. Broken, but determined to put myself back together, hopefully into something stronger."This was a lovely and often amusing story about first love, first heartbreak, family, friendships, and finding oneself. I throughly enjoyed this book, and hope to read more of Karim's work.**I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication. BLOG|INSTAGRAM|BLOGLOVIN| FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Kelly
    May 14, 2017
    This started out a little rocky, but it eventually grew to be a book I didn't want to put down. It's a story about friendship and family, about a relationship that was about cultural fetishization, and about how important supportive and nurturing relationships work. Farah, the best friend in this story, is exceptional. I wish we saw her more, but I almost think that this story not being about her made her so powerful. Her fierceness and boldness really help Shabnam find her footing.
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  • Haniya (Voracious Bookling)
    April 17, 2017
    Lol Islam is potrayed so badly damn it!Review to come!
  • Holly
    May 15, 2017
    Aw, I liked this one. It wasn’t always entertaining, but I really appreciated how it showed both the joys and pains of being a teenager. Shabnam was awkward and quiet, unsure of where she stood and not religious enough to feel like a Muslim girl, but who decided that it was okay for her to figure out who she is on her own terms. She wasn’t always easy to like, and she made mistakes, and she let her feelings for a boy take over her summer. But she was endearing, and I loved how this tackled first Aw, I liked this one. It wasn’t always entertaining, but I really appreciated how it showed both the joys and pains of being a teenager. Shabnam was awkward and quiet, unsure of where she stood and not religious enough to feel like a Muslim girl, but who decided that it was okay for her to figure out who she is on her own terms. She wasn’t always easy to like, and she made mistakes, and she let her feelings for a boy take over her summer. But she was endearing, and I loved how this tackled first love and heartache and growing relationships and how scary and exciting changes can be. Also, sex positive for the win! And it was very feministic which made me go like YESSS GIRL GET IT. Plus the friendship between Farah and Shabnam was pretty great. They had things to work through, but they did it together, and it made their bond stronger. And I adored her relationship with her parents! Her socially inept and unself-aware dad and her attentive and kind mom; they let their daughter choose her own paths but were there for her in the ways that she needed and didn’t know she wanted. That Thing We Call a Heart was not only about romantic love, but about familial and friend love too. Because, after all, those loves matter just as much, if not more. Rating: 3-3.5 stars
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  • Angelee B
    May 30, 2017
    Okay, these stars are for two things and two things only: Farah, and Urdu poetry.Shabnam is one of my least favorite characters I have read. She's very selfish and acts like a spoiled child. For someone who has just graduated high school, she sure is immature. The first guy who's nice ot her and within twelve days-yes, TWELVE DAYS-she thinks she's in love with him. I'll admit, Jamie was cute and fun, but you can't fall in love with someone you hardly know. A summer fling is fine, that's cool, bu Okay, these stars are for two things and two things only: Farah, and Urdu poetry.Shabnam is one of my least favorite characters I have read. She's very selfish and acts like a spoiled child. For someone who has just graduated high school, she sure is immature. The first guy who's nice ot her and within twelve days-yes, TWELVE DAYS-she thinks she's in love with him. I'll admit, Jamie was cute and fun, but you can't fall in love with someone you hardly know. A summer fling is fine, that's cool, but Shabnam didn't know his history, what his goals in life were, or anything about his family.Farah was the best damn character in this book. She wasn't afraid to be herself and stick up for her beliefs. When she decides to wear hijab, all the kids in school treat her like a threat. Shabnam was supposed to be Farah's best friend, but when Farah started wearing hijab, Shabnam backed off and abandoned her to the wolves, all because she didn't want to be associated with a proud Muslim.As soon as Shabnam thought she fell in love with Jamie, after twelve-motherfuckin’ days-she went straight to Farah, the friend she abandoned and has ignored for a while, and gushes about her new feelings for Jamie. No, she doesn’t apologize for dumping Farah when she needed her most. No, she doesn’t ask how Farah has been. No, she doesn’t not give two shits about Farah; all she wanted was to have someone to gush to about Jamie.That is a terrible friendship. For that, I now dub Shabnam one of the WORST characters I have read from. Yes, The top worst. I’m sorry Farah couldn’t have a better friend. She deserved so much better. Even at the end when we learn Jamie tried kissing Farah behind Shabnam’s back, and Shabnam FINALLY fuckin’ apologizes to Farah for hurting her, I still hate her. She is a terrible person and I would love to elbow her in the taco (yes, it’s possible).
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  • Alisha (Freeway To Fiction)
    May 17, 2017
    (Spoiler Review)From the moment I heard about this book, I knew that it was something I definitely had to read. A popular YA novel with a female Muslim protagonist is rare, and so my expectations for this book were pretty high. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this book was a disappointment, but Shabnam definitely was. The reasons for that were simple. From the moment Shabnam drank the champagne and made out with Ryan, I knew that she wasn’t the protagonist I expected. I understand how diffic (Spoiler Review)From the moment I heard about this book, I knew that it was something I definitely had to read. A popular YA novel with a female Muslim protagonist is rare, and so my expectations for this book were pretty high. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this book was a disappointment, but Shabnam definitely was. The reasons for that were simple. From the moment Shabnam drank the champagne and made out with Ryan, I knew that she wasn’t the protagonist I expected. I understand how difficult it may be to be a perfect Muslim in 21st century America, but I expected her to be a bit more Islam conscious. For me, I just saw it that a proper Muslim girl isn’t a good enough subject for a book.I got to hand it over to the author though, I loved all the Bollywood references. Even if they were references about Bollywood itself and not about Bollywood content (Ahem, Ranveer Singh) it was great to read about something that I related to that isn’t often featured. I didn’t particularly appreciate the way Islam was portrayed in certain scenes, but that may just be a biased opinion.I liked Farah the most. The attitude she wore her hijab with and just her character overall. Although, the parking lot smoking scene just didn’t do it for me.Her relationship with Jamie wasn’t something that I was really into, but it was cute to read (Although, I think it may have been slightly cuter if he was Muslim). I appreciated the way the author focused on other topics such as family and friends as well as romance. Overall Rating: 7/10 (3.5 Stars)
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  • Kate Olson
    May 8, 2017
    A fresh and complex contemporary YA story with a Pakistani-American protagonist that manages to be both wryly hilarious and discuss Urdu poetry, the Bosnian genocide and Indian Partition all in the same page. That takes serious skill! As I have said in some of my other reviews, I am a librarian and read and review a LOT of YA - I'm always on the hunt for an original story and this one certainly fits that description. Thanks to Edelweiss for the digital review copy!Shabnam and her friend Farah ar A fresh and complex contemporary YA story with a Pakistani-American protagonist that manages to be both wryly hilarious and discuss Urdu poetry, the Bosnian genocide and Indian Partition all in the same page. That takes serious skill! As I have said in some of my other reviews, I am a librarian and read and review a LOT of YA - I'm always on the hunt for an original story and this one certainly fits that description. Thanks to Edelweiss for the digital review copy!Shabnam and her friend Farah are at the heart of the book and their discussions about wearing hijab and what it means to be a "good" Muslim were incredibly deep and heartfelt, but at the same time the girls were just plan funny. There is discussion about sexuality and sexual diversity but in a "ugh, why is the world so heteronormative" way, not in a preachy way. There was minor drinking and drug use, but as a backdrop for the larger story. There was a love interest, but one who helped Shabnam find her true self and devotion to her family's history. I really enjoyed reading this story and would recommend it for purchase in all high school libraries as a window for some and a mirror for others. If the book creates dialogue and controversy about what a good modern Muslim looks like and acts like, that's a healthy thing for teens to be discussing, whether with one another or their parents and teachers.
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  • Nicole
    May 21, 2017
    The thing I liked most about this book was that it wasn't actually ABOUT the Muslim faith. It was ABOUT first love and losing your best friend and that last summer before you go away to college. Shabnam grapples with hajab-wearing friend the same way I might have grappled with my rosary-carrying friend. Would I want to read a book where being raised Catholic was the most important thing about me? Not even close.Karim asks some tough questions through her characters (admittedly safe) actions and The thing I liked most about this book was that it wasn't actually ABOUT the Muslim faith. It was ABOUT first love and losing your best friend and that last summer before you go away to college. Shabnam grapples with hajab-wearing friend the same way I might have grappled with my rosary-carrying friend. Would I want to read a book where being raised Catholic was the most important thing about me? Not even close.Karim asks some tough questions through her characters (admittedly safe) actions and interactions. Can you still call someone your best friend when you haven't spoken to them in weeks? Can you be a feminist while wearing a traditional headpiece? Does it count as love if it's not said out loud? What makes a marriage worth continuing? Does it matter what lies you tell if you're never caught and no one gets hurt?Don't get the wrong idea here. This is topical YA, all the way. But there's just enough gravitas to keep make the story worthwhile. I really liked Shabnam's parents and Farah was as interesting as a stock character best friend can be. Just keep in mind that there's not a sharp edge in sight. Plenty of bonding over donuts, warm mom hugs, and making it home safely before curfew.
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  • KP
    May 22, 2017
    This was a good book, but the parts I found most interesting (her struggling friendship with Farah, the unspoken dramas of her family life, the history of her family in Partition) were almost secondary to her summer romance with Jamie. Which, much like Farah, did NOT send me. I wanted to take Shabnam by the shoulders and go, honey, he wears a fedora, he calls you m'lady, and he thinks genocide is 'cool', why are you not picking up on these warning signs??? But then, I'm older, and so this romanc This was a good book, but the parts I found most interesting (her struggling friendship with Farah, the unspoken dramas of her family life, the history of her family in Partition) were almost secondary to her summer romance with Jamie. Which, much like Farah, did NOT send me. I wanted to take Shabnam by the shoulders and go, honey, he wears a fedora, he calls you m'lady, and he thinks genocide is 'cool', why are you not picking up on these warning signs??? But then, I'm older, and so this romance was never going to send me. I just wish we'd had more time exploring the dynamics of Farah and Shabnam's friendship and the complications and loyalties there, rather than yet another icky Jamie scene.Still, it's good that there are books out there for Muslim teens where the book isn't about their relationship with Islam and being a first generation kid, but rather about the intricacies and messiness of a romantic relationship. There definitely needs to be a variety of books out there, and this certainly fulfills that. It was enjoyable, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
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  • Jacob Haller
    May 29, 2017
    I enjoyed this novel, with some reservations. My main issue was that the main character, Shabnam, was enough of a jerk to her friend Farah and to her mom that I found it a little hard to root for her. (With that said, her actions seemed realistic and with relatable motivations. I mean, it's not like I've never been a jerk to my mom or friends.) Additionally, I found the resolution, where (view spoiler)[she decides to have incredibly honest conversations with her mom and with Farah (hide spoiler) I enjoyed this novel, with some reservations. My main issue was that the main character, Shabnam, was enough of a jerk to her friend Farah and to her mom that I found it a little hard to root for her. (With that said, her actions seemed realistic and with relatable motivations. I mean, it's not like I've never been a jerk to my mom or friends.) Additionally, I found the resolution, where (view spoiler)[she decides to have incredibly honest conversations with her mom and with Farah (hide spoiler)], kind of unrealistic.With that said, I liked the setting and the characters, and I loved the relationship between Shabnam and her dad.My friend Carrie and I discussed this book on our podcast 'Love YA Like Crazy'. Carrie also liked it, maybe a little less than I did, and noted the character of Farah, and the not-often-found-in-YA strong relationship between Shabnam and her parents, of particular note.You can hear our discussion at http://loveyalikecrazy.libsyn.com/tha... . Note, it contains both spoilers and swearing.
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  • Stacee
    May 9, 2017
    3.5 starsThe title caught my eye and I liked the premise, so I downloaded this on a whim. I really liked Shabnam. Yes, she's a bit dramatic, but I enjoyed reading her reactions to things and seeing how she navigated her world. I did find myself making faces at my kindle at parts because at times, her inner monologue is absolutely ridiculous. Farah is sort of a bad ass and I loved that she stood up for what she wanted. As for Jamie, I have mixed feelings, but I'll leave that for people to figure 3.5 starsThe title caught my eye and I liked the premise, so I downloaded this on a whim. I really liked Shabnam. Yes, she's a bit dramatic, but I enjoyed reading her reactions to things and seeing how she navigated her world. I did find myself making faces at my kindle at parts because at times, her inner monologue is absolutely ridiculous. Farah is sort of a bad ass and I loved that she stood up for what she wanted. As for Jamie, I have mixed feelings, but I'll leave that for people to figure out on their own. I also really enjoyed the culture and history that was present in the story. I will admit that I don't know a lot about the Muslim faith or wearing hijab and I appreciated getting details on those aspects of the characters. Overall, it was quick and cute read. I loved the ending and will definitely be looking into future titles by this author. **Huge thanks to Harper Teen for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Melinda
    May 14, 2017
    Read this in one sitting and loved everything about it. Humor, friendship, religion, family, feminism, and an angsty teen romance that resolves itself exactly the way you hope it will. I can't think of a teen girl that I wouldn't recommend this book to.
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  • Rashika (is tired)
    May 16, 2017
    The actual book of my heart right now. PLEASE READ THIS.Full review to come.
  • Veronica
    May 8, 2017
    I received an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway. Warning, this review does contain spoilers.(view spoiler)[ I’m going to be completely honest here; six chapters in and I wanted to DNF this book. The fact that Shabnam lied about what happened to Chotay Dada and was embarrassed of him enough that she hid at the mall bothered me to no end. I really didn’t think I would be able to get over my anger about that. Never mind that I hate liars, I find it difficult to understand why someone would be ashame I received an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway. Warning, this review does contain spoilers.(view spoiler)[ I’m going to be completely honest here; six chapters in and I wanted to DNF this book. The fact that Shabnam lied about what happened to Chotay Dada and was embarrassed of him enough that she hid at the mall bothered me to no end. I really didn’t think I would be able to get over my anger about that. Never mind that I hate liars, I find it difficult to understand why someone would be ashamed of their own culture and family members who look and act differently than them. Shabnam also seemed like a very whiny and negative character, which are traits that I don’t particularly enjoy in a narrator. However, I decided to stick with the story and I am so glad I did.Shabnam experienced so much growth over the course of the story and it was a treat getting to follow along! I liked how she and her father began to bond over Urdu poetry. There was a reference to the Urdu poetry, however, that is problematic in that it touches on the topic of m/m pedophilia in such a way that western audiences will easily misconstrue as embracing homosexuality when it is, in fact, a serious problem of child abuse. The growth that she experienced in her friendship with Farrah was very realistic too. My favorite part of the story though was how Farrah encouraged her to learn about Chotay Dada. I love how Sheba Karim tied all of the threads of the story together in the end. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Piper (An Ocean of Words)
    May 4, 2017
    Pakistani Muslim-American jersey girls!!!! Yes my home-state and its diversity! I need this and I cannot wait!
  • Samantha
    May 18, 2017
    3.5/4, the teenage narrative voice was so spot on.
  • Abi
    May 14, 2017
    Ahhhhhhh a super fun and well-written YA read.
  • Karin
    March 20, 2017
    Pakistani-Muslim-American Shabnam spends the summer after high school selling pies, falling for a boy, and working through her friendship with Farah - who has started wearing hijab.
  • Farrah
    February 16, 2017
    I thoroughly enjoyed this important, eye-opening contemporary YA. The story follows Shabnam who's introduced as somewhat selfish in the beginning, yet becomes more accepting to the people around her as the novel progresses. Her friendship with her BFF, Farah, has fallen out for some reason, and later we learn that while Farah is now wearing hijab, it's a new change for both Farah and Shabnam. In contrast, we see that Farah is strong-minded, independent, and unafraid of standing up for herself an I thoroughly enjoyed this important, eye-opening contemporary YA. The story follows Shabnam who's introduced as somewhat selfish in the beginning, yet becomes more accepting to the people around her as the novel progresses. Her friendship with her BFF, Farah, has fallen out for some reason, and later we learn that while Farah is now wearing hijab, it's a new change for both Farah and Shabnam. In contrast, we see that Farah is strong-minded, independent, and unafraid of standing up for herself and her religion, and because she's such a kickass character I needed to see if Shabnam and her could rebuild their friendship. Karim's story also brings light to important issues, both of the present and past. Karim interweaves history of the Bosnian genocide and the Partition within her story, educating the reader in a organic way. She also handles both character's Muslim faith (Shabnam very distant from it while Farah incredibly involved) in what feels natural for these two teen characters. There's a boy — Shabnam's love interest — who's a big part of the plot, too. He brings more tension to the story, especially with tension between Shabnam and Farah. Overall, I loved the story and really enjoyed seeing Shabnam grow and learn so much as a character. This is a great story about friendship, family, religion, and the choices we make when it comes to all three.
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  • Teresa
    February 22, 2017
    Farah and Shabnam made this book...their relationship was this book. I can remember having a best friend, moving away from one another for some reason and then finding each other again...just when you need them back in your life. A cute, touching read about finding yourself in a place you never expected. Thanks to HarperCollins for the ARC!
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  • Shirley Freeman
    January 3, 2017
    Shabnam and Farah are just completing their senior year at Lincoln Prep before heading off to Ivy League schools. They've been best friends through-out high school. Both girls are navigating the complexities of growing up in the United States as daughters of Pakistani immigrants. Farah's Muslim faith is important to her and she begins wearing a hijab at the beginning of senior year. While technically Muslim, Shabnam has no interest in religion. Farah's decision to wear the hijab without talking Shabnam and Farah are just completing their senior year at Lincoln Prep before heading off to Ivy League schools. They've been best friends through-out high school. Both girls are navigating the complexities of growing up in the United States as daughters of Pakistani immigrants. Farah's Muslim faith is important to her and she begins wearing a hijab at the beginning of senior year. While technically Muslim, Shabnam has no interest in religion. Farah's decision to wear the hijab without talking it over with Shabnam, and Shabnam's subsequent reaction, cause a rift in the relationship. In the meantime, Shabnam's parents are driving her crazy and she gets involved in an intense relationship with a boy. Both girls are fairly edgy so this story for older teens will help reduce stereotypes.
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  • Julie
    February 10, 2017
    I liked this book and learning about muslim and Hindu and many others things. I enjoyed the girls friendship and slight romance in the book. Very good book.
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