ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL

Allie Abraham is tired of being a “receptacle for unguarded Just Between Us White People ignorance” and discomfort.

Moving from place to place with her Circassian Jordanian professor father and white American psychologist mother, Allie has been a chameleon, blending in as the perfect all-American girl. Very few people know that Allie is actually Alia and that both her parents are Muslim. Her mother converted upon marrying her no-longer-practicing father, who encourages his daughter to take advantage of the pale skin and reddish-blonde hair that help her avoid being profiled. Allie yearns to connect to her religion and heritage—and to her Teta, the grandmother with whom she is only able to communicate in broken Arabic. Her new boyfriend, Wells Henderson, seems so genuine and likable, unlike his father, a conservative, xenophobic cable newscaster. As Allie embraces all the parts of who she is and confronts Islamophobia, she wonders if others can fully accept her growth. The book handles the complexity and intersectionality of being a Muslim American woman with finesse, addressing many aspects of identity and Islamic opinions. Allie, who has a highly diverse friend group, examines her white-passing privilege and race as well as multiple levels of discrimination, perceptions of conversion, feminism, sexual identity, and sexuality. While grounded in the American Muslim experience, the book has universal appeal thanks to its nuanced, well-developed teen characters whose struggles offer direct parallels to many other communities.

Phenomenal. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30952-7

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume.

THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 2

Evangeline faces new dangers in her quest for happiness in this follow-up to 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart.

As Evangeline Fox seeks a cure for her poisoned husband, Prince Apollo, the enticing and infuriating Fate Jacks reappears, offering to save Apollo if she unlocks the Valory Arch. Remembering the long list of ills brought upon her by the Fate, Evangeline refuses. When the new heir arrives and Apollo wakes with a new curse and glowing red eyes, she is forced to delve into the mysteries of the Valors and find the arch’s four missing magical stones whose powers are luck, truth, mirth, and youth. The inclusion of expanded Valor lore alongside the preexisting blend of fairy-tale and paranormal creatures is intriguing and fits the overarching theme of storytelling as history. The ongoing use of emotions as a scale for displaying and determining one’s humanity, especially by Fates, is equally interesting. Unfortunately, the impact of Evangeline’s often amusing narration and numerous surprising plot twists is diluted by the meandering pacing, convoluted sensory descriptions, and close focus on Evangeline’s fluctuating attraction toward her potential love interests. Despite the positive emphasis on hope and happily-ever-afters, Evangeline’s romantic relationship with Jacks borders on manipulative and toxic. Evangeline reads White; side characters are fantasy diverse.

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-26842-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A powerful tale of found family and first love.

SOME MISTAKES WERE MADE

After a year away, Ellis returns home to confront her past.

Graduating from high school far from everything familiar was not part of Ellis Truman’s original plans, but she nevertheless ended up spending her senior year with her aunt in California. In Indiana, Ellis practically grew up with the Albrey family and their three tightknit sons, Dixon, Tucker, and Easton. Now, Tucker wants her to return home for matriarch Sandry Albrey’s 50th birthday celebration on the Fourth of July—but Ellis is dreading seeing Easton, as they haven’t talked since she left. Chapters alternate between past and present, and much of the story unravels slowly: How did she come to live with the Albreys? What caused Ellis to then end up in San Diego? What happened in her relationship with Easton? Patient readers will find the heartfelt tension pays off. With her father in and out of jail and an absent mother, socio-economic differences separating Ellis from the middle-class Albreys don’t go unnoticed, and Ellis’ down-to-earth journey shows how she unpacks her feelings about her relationship with her parents. The slow-build romance is swoonworthy, and young adult fans of Colleen Hoover seeking emotional devastation and unforgettable characters will find much to enjoy here. Characters read as White.

A powerful tale of found family and first love. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308853-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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