Next book

ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE

A vivid account exploring issues many immigrant teens face.

Pakistani Muslim Zara, an openly queer senior in Corpus Christi, Texas, handles not only being Muslim in post–9/11 America, but also being an immigrant.

Contrary to assumptions, Zara’s family is wholly accepting of her bisexuality. Instead, it’s her girlfriend Chloe’s Christian family that’s having a hard time coming to terms with their daughter’s sexuality. Zara knows how to navigate the racism of her Catholic school classmates, but when bully Tyler starts harassing Maria, a new student from Colombia, she can’t stay silent—and Tyler wants revenge. After the family awakens one night to find a racist message defacing their garage, Abbu, Zara’s father, immediately heads to Tyler’s house, certain he is the perpetrator. In a twisted set of events, Abbu is shot by Tyler’s father, winding up in a coma while facing criminal charges for trespassing. The incident does more than just rattle the family: It directly threatens Abbu’s employment, their immigration status, and the notion that the U.S. could ever be a safe home. Khan unapologetically tackles prejudice in its various manifestations—anti-immigration, homophobia, Islamophobia—while simultaneously engaging openly with the complexities of accountability. The myriad forms of oppression the most vulnerable face in our society intersect in the character of Zara, challenging readers to ask what it means for some to feel at home in a country whose systems feel built to exclude them.

A vivid account exploring issues many immigrant teens face. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-58087-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Next book

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Next book

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

Close Quickview