Posts Tagged: Books

Monday, June 25, 2018

Summer Road Trip: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

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Summer Road Trip: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim
Mariam Sharma Hits the Road
Sheba Karim
Genre: Adventure, Contemporary, YA
Publication date: June 5th, 2018
by HarperTeen

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Three Pakistani-American teenagers, on a trip through the land of pork ribs, mechanical bulls, and Confederate flags. It's going to be quite an adventure.

The summer after her freshman year of college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala, and religious but closeted Umar.

But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what could be a better escape than a spontaneous road trip down to New Orleans?

With the heartbreaking honesty of Julie Murphy's Dumplin' mixed with with the cultural growing pains and smart snark of When Dimple Met Rishi, this wry, remarkable road-trip story is about questioning where you come from--and choosing the family that chooses you back.
-A copy was provided by HarperTeen for review-

That Thing We Call a Heart was one of my favorite books of 2017 so obviously, when I heard about Mariam Sharma Hits the Road, I was ecstatic and ready to dive in. This review is particularly hard because even though, overall, I definitely enjoyed Mariam Sharma Hits the Road, there were times when I felt let down by some of the things the characters said.

I am grappling for words as I attempt to describe my feelings because I want to be respectful and clear that these experiences aren’t invalid but one of the biggest dichotomy in the book is how Mariam is raised vs how her friends are raised. Mariam grew up in a household that wasn’t religious or super connected to their cultural roots and her mom was super supportive whereas her friends grew up in religious households and have shitty parents. My issue wasn’t necessarily that Mariam’s friends had a complex relationship with their parents because of the way they were treated. It was more that the dichotomy that was created made it seem like, to me at least, that growing up in a more religious and traditional household was ultimately a bad thing? To add to this, there were a handful of jokes that the three friends make at the expense of people who wear niqabs. The real issue being that none of this was clearly addressed in the text. 

It is worth noting that later on in the book, the characters have a very thorough and open conversation about their identities as Pakistani-Americans (or in the case of Mariam, Pakistani-Indian-American), what that means to them and the privileges they have in spite of the prejudice they deal with on a daily basis.

When Ghaz signs up to model for an underwear company, she has no idea that her photo will end up on a billboard in Times Square. Gossip soon spreads and her parents lock her up in her room. Potentially indefinitely. Mariam and Umar, worried, decide to perform a daring rescue and go on a road trip to New Orleans. Over the course of the next couple weeks, the three have a number of adventures, attempt to dissect their traumas, and figure out how to move on. 

My favorite thing about the book is really its intense focus on their friendship. Mariam, Umar and Ghaz are supportive of one another, push each other to be their best selves and are also not perfect. Not when it comes to their friendships and not as human beings. 

Mariam Sharma Hits the Road is a coming of age novel that explores identities, familial relationships and the power of some really great friendships. It isn’t perfect and I think it is important to be aware of the character’s prejudices but overall, I think the book is definitely worth it. HELL YEAH TO ROAD TRIPS.

3.5 Stars
3.5 Hot Espressos

Kid Lit Says No Kids in Cages + Five Books About Immigration Experiences You Should Read

Kid Lit Says No Kids in Cages + Five Books About Immigration Experiences You Should Read

Posted by on 06/20/2018 • 2 Comments

I think we are all aware the world is a pile of crap and yet this past week, it seems like all of that is escalating. From refugees running away from human traffickers being turned away by Italy to prove a point to incredibly young children being separated from their parents after escaping unimaginable horrors, the world truly sucks. Sometimes it can be incredibly overwhelming when many of us sit in the protection of our own homes feeling like we are unable to do anything. There is always something you can do though. Whether it is calling your representatives (no matter how shitty they are) or donating your time/money. 

Authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz put together the “Kid Lit Says No Kids in Cages” campaign. Donations will…

On Why I Rarely Rate Books Five Stars

On Why I Rarely Rate Books Five Stars

Posted by on 06/12/2018 • 4 Comments

At the end of every year, I like to go through and look at all of my reading stats just to get an idea of what went on in that year for my reading-wise and also because I love statistics. Last year was honestly one of the best bookish-years for me in terms of ratings. In 2017, I may not have read a lot of five star books (I think that numbed capped out at 12 out of the 230 books I read), but my average rating was 3.9. So I read a WHOLE lot of 4 star books last year and LOVED what I was reading. That is a significant improvement over average ratings from previous years and yet, I am still not reading a lot of five star…

A Guide on How to Determine the Audience of a Book: A Discussion

A Guide on How to Determine the Audience of a Book: A Discussion

Posted by on 05/22/2018 • 2 Comments

How do we define the various demographics books are published for? Publishing is split into Adult publishing and Children’s publishing but what determines who a book is published for? This is something I’ve thought about for a long time (especially since my primary focus in undergrad was on Children’s lit) but it recently came up on Twitter and I thought it was worth talking about. 

I think the first answer that always comes at point is the age of the main character but a number of books that would be YA/MG based on the age of the character are often published as Adult. For example, The Girl With All the Gifts. A non-literary example of this is Stranger Things – a show with younger characters that is aimed at an older audience.

So…

Pressure of Perfection: On Diverse Authors and Readers

Pressure of Perfection: On Diverse Authors and Readers

Posted by on 05/08/2018 • 5 Comments

These past two years, we have seen a definite surge in the amount of diverse books that are focus titles. This means that they are essentially a main focus for the publisher for the season and receive more publicity and marketing that non-focus titles. I am guessing seeing a couple diverse books floating around has probably led some people to believe that all the problems in publishing and life have been solved. THE END. WE HAVE ALL THE DIVERSE BOOKS WE NEED. We’re never gonna need anymore. Well, for starters, if you take a moment to look at the CCBC stats, that is simply not true. Only a fraction of children’s literature published each year features diverse* characters and a fraction of those books are written by the people…

What I’ve Been Reading: April Update

What I’ve Been Reading: April Update

Posted by on 05/01/2018 • 5 Comments

Happy May everyone!!! New month new me?? Who knows. I ended up spending most of April in a funk. I didn’t get a lot of reading done but I am starting to feel a little bit more productive so we’ll see and hope May is a better month personally and for my reading aspirations.

Okay so I didn’t read any backlist sequels this month because again, I was in a funk but, I am counting the two sequels I did read in this update so I can give myself a pat on the back.

 

Both these books were anticipated sequels and coincidentally, both were pushed back to this year so I’ve been waiting on them for quite some time (After the Wedding for 2.5 years.) Trouble Never Sleeps…

7 Books I’d Rescue If My House Was Burning Down

7 Books I’d Rescue If My House Was Burning Down

Posted by on 04/13/2018 • 7 Comments

UMMMMMM. So if you know me, you know I collect Melina Marchetta books but I don’t want this entire post to be about me saving my Marchetta books so I promise I’ll stick with just two. Also, S/O to Nick for helping me brainstorm this post.

1. My signed copy of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Ummm, I’d never let this baby cherish in a fire. Gene Luen Yang has been a fav for over a decade and I was ecstatic when I finally got to meet him. I might have freaked him out a little.

2. My tattered copy of Esperanza Rising by Pam Ryan Muñoz

I usually like to claim this book as the first one I ever bought and there is a fun story behind…

What I’ve Been Reading: March Update

What I’ve Been Reading: March Update

Posted by on 04/02/2018 • 0 Comments

It seems like 2018 is now shaping up to be a pretty shitty year for me so like, I’ve been behind on everything and not in the mood to do anything except sit around and mope. I would say something more optimistic but like I am not an optimistic person in general, lol. But I’ve been rewatched old favs as a pick-me-up which has been helping a little. March was a decent month for reading and I REALLY hit my backlist TBR hard.

Only four sequels this month but I technically finished two series so HELL YEAH.

   

It was really great revisiting a series I read back in the day and this time, the books really lived up to my expectations. However, with time comes…