ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE

In this Christian chick-lit effort, car repair paves the way to emotional healing. High-school junior Emily and her father have just moved in with her wealthy aunt and uncle and their two children. Several months previously, Emily’s mother died of cancer, and hospital bills have pushed them to the brink: Emily’s father has lost his car-repair business and their home. Emily, given to dramatic sighs, unexpected tears and prickly angst, has not been able to talk to God since her mother died, her emotional distress amplified by being recently dumped by her boyfriend. While she enthusiastically rejects nearly every kind overture offered to her, next-door-hunk Zander easily breaks through her barriers, since the two of them share an intense interest in auto repair. This activity provides Emily with solace but horrifies her critical, fashion-focused aunt. While cheerleader cousin Whitney is initially portrayed as shallow, she tries hard to relieve Emily’s suffering, as do the minister and youth-group leader at their church. Emily’s egocentric, first-person narration sharply limits the focus, leaving other characters little room to develop. A lack of suspense, a predictable outcome, a nondescript setting and a surfeit of soul-searching on Emily’s part, as she writes long letters to her mother in her journal, all contribute to a largely vanilla-flavored tale of loss and, not surprisingly, redemption. (Christian chick-lit. 10 & up)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-310-71981-6

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Zondervan

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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A reminder that even in a world filled with divisions and right-wing ideology, young people will rise up and demand equality...

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INTERNMENT

Layla was a regular American teenager until the new Islamophobic president enacted Exclusion Laws.

Muslims are being rounded up, their books burned, and their bodies encoded with identification numbers. Neighbors are divided, and the government is going after resisters. Layla and her family are interned in the California desert along with thousands of other Muslim Americans, but she refuses to accept the circumstances of her detention, plotting to take down the system. She quickly learns that resistance is no joke: Two hijabi girls are beaten and dragged away screaming after standing up to the camp director. There are rumors of people being sent to black-op sites. Some guards seem sympathetic, but can they be trusted? Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America, Ahmed’s (Love, Hate & Other Filters, 2018) magnetic, gripping narrative, written in a deeply humane and authentic tone, is attentive to the richness and complexity of the social ills at the heart of the book. Layla grows in consciousness as she begins to understand her struggle not as an individual accident of fate, but as part of an experience of oppression she shares with millions. This work asks the question many are too afraid to confront: What will happen if xenophobia and racism are allowed to fester and grow unabated?

A reminder that even in a world filled with divisions and right-wing ideology, young people will rise up and demand equality for all. (Realistic fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52269-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A moving coming-of-age narrative about the viciousness of Islamophobia and the unwavering power of love in post–9/11 America.

A VERY LARGE EXPANSE OF SEA

After attending three different high schools, Shirin’s used to finding her way in new places.

Unlike her brother, Navid, she lies low, earbuds under her headscarf, ignoring all the racist comments thrown her way. Shirin doesn’t take all the bull of her white classmates and their racist ignorance. But two things make this new school different: break-dancing and Ocean, the white lab partner who seems to see beyond Iranian-American Shirin’s hijab. She can’t get Ocean off her mind: Although he annoys her with his constant questions and texts, which keep eating at her data limit, Ocean forces her to open up. She even takes him out to watch break-dance tournaments, the one diverse place in her life where she doesn’t feel alone in a crowd of whiteness. Shirin keeps waiting for Ocean to get bored or to realize that being with her could cost him his friends, his family, and potentially his basketball scholarship. But Ocean doesn’t seem to care about other people—what they think, how they act, or what they believe. Even so, their relationship threatens to upend the cultural norms of American suburbia. This gripping political romance takes readers into the life of a young Muslim woman trying to navigate high school with the entire world attacking her right to her body and her faith.

A moving coming-of-age narrative about the viciousness of Islamophobia and the unwavering power of love in post–9/11 America. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-286656-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2019

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