Sixteen-year-old Taliah Abdallat has fantasized about the father she’s never met appearing at her doorstep, but she’s undone when he finally shows up unannounced.
Ever since she found a note in a hidden shoebox in her mother’s room three years ago, Taliah has suspected that her real father is none other than the white American rock star Julian Oliver and not the vague “boy from back home” her Jordanian mother always referred to. Given everything from her love of music to her blue eyes, the unlikely story makes perfect sense to Taliah. But Julian hasn’t answered her letters, and her mother hasn’t answered her questions. So when Julian shows up while her mother is traveling and asks Taliah to come home with him to meet his family, she has every reason to hesitate. But the promise of finding out the whole story her mother hasn’t told her is enough to get her to agree to the trip, and it’s more than enough to keep readers hooked. Over an intense few days, Taliah comes to understand her secretive mother better and to gain perspective on her own choices. Readers will find an exceptional portrayal of an Arab Muslim–immigrant experience in Taliah’s mother, sensitively juxtaposed with small-town Americana and popular culture.
A well-executed family drama of the power of romantic and parental love, secrets, regrets, and new beginnings. (Fiction. 13-18)