Posts Tagged: YA

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

Really Funny and Over-the-Top: Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Really Funny and Over-the-Top: Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Posted by on 06/21/2018 • 2 Comments

Save the Date is neither unpredictable nor does it really break any moulds. It is exactly what you would expect it to be and it is fucking amazing. If you, like me, are a connoisseur of rom-coms & chick-flicks and are upset by how few are being made lately, this book is what you deserve.

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this week, her family home is being sold, and her brother who she nor her parents have spoken to in almost two years is gonna be coming back for the wedding. To add to the stress, Charlie’s long-time crush and her are feeling the sparks which makes things awkward because a certain brother is crashing with her crush instead of with the fam. Charlie just wants…

A Delightful Summer Read for Your TBR: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

A Delightful Summer Read for Your TBR: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Posted by on 05/31/2018 • 3 Comments

I Believe in a Thing Called Love was one of my very few five star reads of last year so I was eagerly anticipating the release of The Way You Make Me Feel. While The Way You Make Me Feel was not a five star read for me, it was still absolutely delightful.

Clara Shin is the class clown. Her life revolves arounds making snarky remarks and pranking her enemies. When her prom prank results in the school almost being burned down, both her and her arch nemesis are suspended. Clara’s dad is able to negotiate a deal that may just be worse. She has to spend the entire summer working on her dad’s food truck with her arch nemesis Rose and use her earnings to pay the school…

Didn’t Love: American Panda by Gloria Chao

Didn’t Love: American Panda by Gloria Chao

Posted by on 02/02/2018 • 3 Comments

American Panda was one of my most anticipated novels of 2018 so it is truly unfortunate that I did not, in fact, love it. I do want to start off by saying that I don’t intend to discourage anyone from reading the book in this review, just convey my experience with it. We are at a point in time where even though there is a large influx in diverse books, we still don’t have nearly enough. Stats show that the number of diverse books published by diverse authors every year is so dismal. I hope that this book will allow many many many kids to see themselves reflected in the story and that they will be able to cherish it.

That said, my biggest issue with the book is not…

A Fairy tale about Fairy tales: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

A Fairy tale about Fairy tales: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Posted by on 01/30/2018 • 4 Comments

I think it’s fair to say there has been some mild hype surrounded The Hazel Wood. I mean, that gorgeous cover and the synopsis are kind of hard to resist so it makes sense. BUT, is the book worth it? This is a slightly complex question to answer because I ~know~ this book won’t be for everyone. To be honest, I also kind of avoided reminding myself what the book was about before I read it because I dreaded the hype getting the better of me and my tastes. I came out pleasantly surprised.

The Hazel Wood is part urban fantasy, part fairy tale and part a book about stories. If someone had told me that before I read the book, I would be intrigued but also nervous because…

Complex and Feel-Good: Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Complex and Feel-Good: Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Posted by on 01/24/2018 • 9 Comments

Let’s Talk About Love surprised me. I went in expecting good vibes and it still blew my expectations out of the water. It is NOT a perfect book, I am nitpicky and its hard for books to be perfect for me, but Let’s Talk About Love is damn well a fantastic read that is worth your time.

Do you love a feel-good romance that will sweep you off your feet? Do you love reading about friendships that have true-to-life complexity? Do you love some angst (the good kind)? Let’s Talk About Love is an ode to not just romantic love but all kinds of love, it explores the complexities of all kinds of relationships and it’s just a GOOD BOOK.

So why am I a nit picky bastard? Well because…

An Avalanche: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

An Avalanche: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Posted by on 01/19/2018 • 4 Comments

I am behind on the times because this is my first time reading a book by this dynamic duo. To be fair, These Broken Stars has been on my tbr since 2012 and we’re just going to ignore the fact that 5 years later (or 4 years since it came out,) I still haven’t read it. BUT, I WASN’T GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN WITH Unearthed. If I remember correctly, at some point it was pitched as Indiana Jones in space. I also got serious National Treasure vibes from the synopsis and I  am garbage for anything that involves a treasure hunt and secrets.

For those wondering, yes Unearthed 110% lives up to those comparisons. Unearthed is a fantastically written book that you WILL gobble up because it is…

Truly Clever: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Truly Clever: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Posted by on 01/17/2018 • 6 Comments

I somehow missed that Maureen Johnson had a new book coming out this month and only found out like a month or two ago. That shows you how I’ve been doing on keeping on top of all the new releases. Spoiler alert, its not good.  I actually had not read any Maureen Johnson prior to reading Truly Devious but had heard so many good things about her other books. Plus I am absolute garbage for books that have boarding schools and this one even had a fun murder mystery involved. I am going to be a spoilsport though and start off by focusing on the bad because I really enjoyed the book and would rather end on a more positive note.

Ellingham academy sounds amazing but… I felt like it…