YA Novels with Muslim Characters

Please note: I’m speaking from the view of mainstream publishers, as there have been Islamic companies who have attempted to provide representation.

I’ve been an avid reader and lover of Young Adult novels ever since I could ever remember. I still remember my 12-year-old self borrowing the Darren Shan vampire series one by one from my school library because my parents wouldn’t buy me the entire series. I remember the day my cousin bought me all the The Hunger Games novels, and finishing them all in the space of a couple of days. I’ve been watching the increasing attention placed on diversity in literature for YA in recent year and I love that it’s happening.

In YA novels, there are few Muslim characters. I started making this list for my cousin who wanted to read more YA novels with Muslim characters in them. So that’s why I decided to post the list here. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it gives an indication of the novels that exist with Muslim characters in the YA publishing sphere. I’ll be continuously updating it. Please drop a comment below if I’ve missed one out!

Any books labelled with *** means it features a muslim character within the novel but not as the main protagonist.

Continue reading “YA Novels with Muslim Characters”

WWW Wednesday #1

WWW Wednesday #1
Hosted by: Taking on a World of Words (formerly hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading) WWW Wednesday is a weekly event where you share (1) What you’re currently reading, (2) What you recently finished reading, and (3) What you think you’ll read next.

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Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

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Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again? She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

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As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer now than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

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Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Rating: ★★★★☆

Received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the author

When going on a walk with her crush, Michael, Asiya accidently stumbles across a dead body. Knowing that telling the police means revealing to her strict parents that she was with him, Michael covers for her but then goes missing himself. All the evidence points towards Michael but Asiya is sure he’s innocent and is willing to risk everything to help Michael.

This review is painful to write because I literally don’t know what else to say except that I loved this. It was such a fun read. All Asiya wants is a normal life but she’s thrust into a murder mystery and has to use her wits to navigate her way through the investigation. It was such a fun and comical read. And serious at times, especially when Asiya begins to doubt Michael’s innocence. And I really enjoyed the character of Asiya: she’s a head strong lead and her faith and determination drives her to do good, even if she shouldn’t be doing much of the things she does.

Even the attempt of bringing South Asian and Muslim problems forefront was good and done so well. (Asiya and her family are Bangladeshi and anytime I see a Bangladeshi character I immediately go  (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ ) Solving a murder is hard and Asiya struggles with it a lot, especially since she doesn’t want to disappoint her family so she has to work around her family and community. She mentions the inconsistency of her community that allows boys more freedom and their gossiping nature that spreads like wildfire. I hope in the sequel we see Asiya use that to her advantage, like asking her brother to help and do something that she would’ve been easily caught doing but not him.

God Smites is an enjoyable book. I turned every page and I immediately was like “this is so me!” I kind of related more to her younger brother: he just wants to play video games and struggles to pass Maths which is literally my entire educational experience.  I’m also in love with the book’s dedication. For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in booksWith God Smites, I get to read about a Muslim girl go through daily life that’s similar to my own, where I can see myself in her actions and that’s my favourite part of this book. It’s such a real book which portrays such real characters without being stereotypical. Sure, her mother is very strict and her father too, but we also get to see them protect and try to understand Asiya. Their family dynamic was so relatable and funny. They all get frustrated and argue with each other but in the end, they do come together as a family. And that ending, guys, my jaw dropped. It ends with a big revelation and an even bigger cliffhanger. Can I have the sequel now?

I’m going to end this review with my favourite part:

He yelled a general, “Salam alaikum!” and made it halfway to the basement door before he realised something was off.

I actually had to put my Kindle down because I was laughing so much because:

  1. She’s in the middle of being interrogated and he casually walks in like this
  2. I do the same thing when I don’t know if anyone’s home 😂😂

GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

Book Review: The Good Immigrant

Book Review: The Good Immigrant

Rating: ★★★★★

Honestly, there’s little to say about The Good Immigrant that hasn’t already been said. I’m not a huge non-fiction reader, but I can say this book was so worth reading.

It’s an interesting and fascinating collection of essays, from authors who are BAME individuals and sharing their stories of their lives and what makes someone a ‘good immigrant’, each one bringing a different aspect of their own lives. They all touch on different topics: why they/or their families move to the UK, their own culture, and the situations they had to deal with. That’s what I loved about this collection, how everyone had a completely different story to tell, each compelling and interesting as the one before it. Its contributors range from people whose families immigrated here, those who were born here, and to ones who had decided to leave.

I think the only flaw I could really point out is that most of the contributors are mainly in media/entertainment which means it excludes people from other fields of work where immigrants have greatly contributed. But, overall, this is a great collection of essays which were all thought-provoking and most importantly, honest. Highly recommended.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

January Wrap-up + February TBR | 2017

January Wrap-up + February TBR | 2017

Here is a very late (well, to me it’s late) wrap up of the books I’ve read in the month of January. A total of 11, which I’m pretty pleased with but I think the spirit of the new year kind of fueled that and I don’t think it will be as high as that for the rest of the year :’). And also a partial TBR of the books I want to read in February. The ones listed are all the Netgalley books (not including God Smites) I need to read.

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Continue reading “January Wrap-up + February TBR | 2017”

Book Review: The Inquisition

Book Review: The Inquisition

Rating: ★★★★☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

After spending a year in prison, 16-year-old Fletcher finally receives a trial but the outcome doesn’t appear good either way. Either he’s convicted for allegedly ordering his demon to kill Didric or they have him on treason for attacking a soldier. After a quick trial and learning a shocking secret about his past, Fletcher soon joins his old friends and enemies on a covert mission into orc territory.

I really enjoyed this one. It did take me a while to remember who was who and what had happened at the end of The Novice so it did take me a while to get into the story but once I did, it was great.

Looking back, I did prefer The Novice, plot-wise, but The Inquisition has faster action and higher stakes with a close look at the enemy Orcs. I’m quite glad the courtroom drama doesn’t drag too long in the first few chapters. It’s quite neat meaning that we learn what we have to know and then it moves on to what’s really important. I’m quite divided about this book in the sense that I enjoyed the great detail of everything as they venture on in their journey but at the same time but I also preferred the more character-driven parts where we see Fletcher interacting with his friends. This conflict for me made it feel like it as partially suffering from Second Book Syndrome just the tiniest bit. But I think I’m a bit too invested in this world and characters to care. There’s also a hint of romance that I guessed would have happened but at the same time, I was still surprised because this book never really focuses on the romance.

This fantasy world is one of my favourites –  it’s so vast and filled with so many different creatures and people. The plot itself only focuses on certain parts of it but there’s potential for the story to reach even further as this world finds itself almost on the verge of war.

The only real criticism I can really say is the sudden influx of new characters. There’s a point where there’s new people and demons alike come in, with new demons comes new demonic descriptions, so that can overwhelm some readers. But I would love to see Matharu release a handbook of some sort featuring all the demons in the series.

Overall The Inquisition is a solid sequel that builds and developed well, leaving you wanting more in the end. If you enjoyed the first book, you should definitely continue reading this series. (Also, R.I.P. me, I seriously died at that cliffhanger)


GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

2017 releases that I can’t wait to read

2017 releases that I can’t wait to read

I like to call this post my future “2017 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To”. Will I even read most of these books in 2017? Probably not. But will I make this list anyway under the pretence that I have everything under control? Obviously, yes.

1) Caraval

27883214Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

MY THOUGHTS: This is probably the book on the list which everyone will call ‘overhyped’ but whooh that plot sounds so cool and I’m super jealous of that cover.

2) History is All You Left Me

25014114When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

MY THOUGHTS: I’m not going to lie: I thought this book was already out. I’ve seen this everywhere for the past six months and I just assumed that I missed the release day when really everyone I follow just happened to have ARCs.

3) The Hate U Give

32075671Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

 

 

4) 27 Hours

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from under his mother’s military shadow, and to unlearn his colony’s darkest secret.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

MY THOUGHTS: I haven’t even read this and it’s already my top read of 2017.

5) When Dimple met Rishi

28458598The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

MY THOUGHTS: That cover is everything. This plot is everything. Everything about this is everything.

6)I Believe In A Thing Called Love


31145133Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

MY THOUGHTS: To say that I’m excited for this is a severe understatement. 

7) Amina’s Voice

30312547Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

MY THOUGHTS: This is one of Salaam Read’s first books to be published and if you can hear a crying noise in the distance, that’s me, waiting by my mailbox.

8) The Gauntlet 

29346880A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.

When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.

MY THOUGHTS: I learnt a couple of weeks ago that Farah is a Bangladeshi-American and I cried. SHE’S BANGLADESHI GUYS!!!!

9) Noteworthy


31447601It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

MY THOUGHTS:

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10) Allegedly.

29640815Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

What’s on your TTT this week? Leave me a link or let me know in the comments!