A humorous, hip look at the ups and downs of fasting for Ramadan within the context of intergenerational and cultural...

BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER.

When a 15-year-old contemporary American Muslim from a “half-way religious” family opts to observe Ramadan, she has no idea how difficult and rewarding it will be.

As Ramadan begins, Almira vows this will be her “first successful month of fasting” after last year’s disgraceful encounter with some Oreos. Her grandparents “follow Islam to the tee,” and her parents are “pretty religious,” while Almira’s only “sort of religious” and one of just two Muslim students at her Miami-Dade high school. Her parents have high expectations, including medical school and an arranged marriage, but Almira’s focused on her weight, hair, braces and boys. Ready and determined to have a boyfriend despite parental prohibitions, Almira has a crush on classmate Peter, but so does her best friend, who disses her when Peter chooses Almira. Ramadan proves to be a “month of discovery” as Almira sheds pounds and gains an “inner pool of strength.” She chronicles her Ramadan experience from beginning to end in a breezy banter that progresses from the shallow to the insightful as she learns humility, patience and the importance of faith.

A humorous, hip look at the ups and downs of fasting for Ramadan within the context of intergenerational and cultural challenges. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7387-2323-5

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story.

THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE

The lives of two girls named Hannah, living in different centuries on different continents, intersect.

Eighteen-year-old Hannah Dory is an English peasant living a harsh existence in 1347. Hannah Doe is a resident of Belman Psychiatric Hospital in 2023 New York City, brought in after being found on the street experiencing hallucinations and screaming something about a castle. Modern-day Hannah periodically enters a catatonic state, something the staff refer to as her “going to the castle.” Columbia psychology student Jordan Hassan is a new intern at Belman, and his interest is piqued by this girl no one knows much about. He decides to play detective and try to discover her history himself. Meanwhile, in the medieval England storyline, Hannah Dory tries to save her village from starvation by sneaking into the baron’s castle but finds herself swept up in a fight between the new baron and his rival. The book sustains a breakneck pace with short chapters and many cliffhangers that will keep readers’ interest. Patterson’s author’s note includes a list of mental health resources and describes his experience of working as an aide in a psychiatric hospital when he was a teenager. The narrative thoughtfully centers mental illness and touches on complex topics like suicide. Whiteness is the default; Jordan is cued as Muslim.

Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-41172-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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