A pair of Pakistani twins, a boy and a girl, struggles to grow up in England while trying to follow Islam.
Beautiful, smart 16-year-old Farhana and her artistic and insecure twin brother Faraz both have to confront the usual tensions between first-generation children and their immigrant parents and also cope with living in a more liberal society than their strict culture demands. Both find themselves drawn to Islam, especially due to the influence of their religious aunt, who keeps herself fully covered. Against her mother’s wishes, Farhana decides to wear the hijab and reluctantly gives up a forbidden romance with a handsome boy. Meanwhile, Faraz can’t summon the courage to break away from a drug dealer’s gang, endangering both himself and his sister. The holy month of Ramadan increases the pressures on the two teens. Robert clearly intends her story for Muslim teens and just as clearly encourages them to follow Islam, although she does not appear to be proselytizing to non-Muslims. She depicts Islam as the solution to all ills faced by the twins. She keeps her prose simple enough for the middle-school crowd, but the suspenseful story easily can interest older teens. Non-Muslim readers may benefit from the story as a sympathetic inside introduction to an often-maligned culture.
Simple but interesting, and certainly timely. (Fiction. 10-15)