Books by Paula Jolin

THREE WITCHES by Paula Jolin
Released: Aug. 1, 2009

Her debut novel, In the Name of God (2007), introduced Jolin as a writer of power and promise. However, this story of three girls obsessed with a classmate recently killed in a car accident never quite comes together. With a plot veering between dark fantasy and contemporary realism, the result feels like two novels stitched together, seams showing. Aliya was in love with Trevor, Gillian in business with him and Miya guilt-ridden over him. Drawing on traditional witchcraft from their respective cultures—Syrian Muslim, Afro-Trinidadian and Japanese—the girls try to restore Trevor to life. Each culture is vividly portrayed through the interactions of the girls at home and together, but Trevor, around whom the girls and the plot revolve, remains vague and unpersuasive. Why was he so compelling? If he was a callous manipulator, what does that say about these otherwise-strong girls who risk everything to bring him back? The author's depiction of teens struggling with conflicting cultural expectations is riveting and convincing, but it needs more support than is provided by this novel's flimsy premise. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
IN THE NAME OF GOD by Paula Jolin
Released: April 1, 2007

In the cramped Damascus apartment 17-year-old Nadia shares with her family, life is tough and getting tougher. While her brothers search unsuccessfully for work, Nadia, attends school. Her fundamentalist Islamic faith and wearing the hijab insulate her from the despondency and stress that surround her, but her rigid views drive a wedge between her and her family. Exhausted and fearful, living under a chaotically repressive regime, they would rather forget the political and religious realities that enrage Nadia. Soon she is venturing down a dangerous path, led by Walid, the attractive young man who draws her into this ominously exciting life. The taut, suspenseful plot builds to a riveting climax. Nadia's world is exotic, but her emotional upheavals, judgmental opinions and flashes of wry self-awareness mark her unmistakably as a member of the teenage tribe. Jolin does more than put a face on Middle East teens; she breathes life into each of her well-drawn characters and their complicated world. Nadia's story reminds us that some truths are best expressed by fiction. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >