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)