Genre: Adventure


Monday, June 25, 2018

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

Posted by 0 Comments

I received this book for free from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Summer Road Trip: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba KarimMariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim
Published by HarperTeen on June 5th, 2018
Genres: Adventure, Contemporary, YA
Source: HarperTeen
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

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.

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.

three-half-stars

3.5 Hot Espressos

Adventurous and Swoony: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Adventurous and Swoony: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Posted by on 03/30/2018 • 1 Comment

I’ve been reading Jenn Bennett for half a decade now and she’s been one of those authors I basically just read anything by. I don’t need a summary or acclaim, I JUST NEED BOOKS BY JENN BENNETT. This book had the added advantage of having an enemies-to-lovers/friends-to-lovers romance trope and an survival-esque story so like… yeah.

Unsurprisingly, I loved this book but I also got to buddy-read it with a close friend which made my experience reading it all the more better. But as anyone knows, loving a book doesn’t make writing a review any easier. It probably makes it a lot harder.

Zorie and Lennon used to be the best of friends and were on their way to becoming something more when something goes wrong. Now they go out…

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Posted by on 03/14/2018 • 7 Comments

I never read Rick Riordan’s books. The short story is that there was no real reason to why I didn’t pick the books up. The longer (and a little pointless) story is that when The Lightning Thief first came out, it had a completely different cover then what it has now. I was in the middle school and our librarian told us all about it. I grew older but it stayed in the corner of my mind, I was in eternal search of the book with the white cover and never realized until a year ago (seriously!!!) that that book was the same one written by Rick Riordan that was so beloved now. Anyway, long pointless story short, I am weird and specific about what I read.

So I missed Rick…

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Posted by on 03/05/2018 • 0 Comments

I am garbage for a good middle grade adventure so when The Mad Wolf’s Daughter was pitched to me, I was on board and wanted to gobble this book up. Good thing it wasn’t disappointing, amirite?

Here is the thing, among the sea of commercial fiction that dominates Middle Grade books, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter doesn’t necessarily stand out but thats not really a good or bad thing? Familiar tropes and adventures are good things and just because The Mad Wolf’s Daughter isn’t necessarily //different// doesn’t mean that it is a bad book or a mediocre book?

The thing about tropes (at least in my opinion) is that it all comes down to how the author uses them to enhance their story. You’re never going to read a book that is free of tropes…

To Be Savored, Not Devoured: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

To Be Savored, Not Devoured: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Posted by on 02/20/2018 • 2 Comments

Tess of the Road is not an easy book to read. At 544 pages it is long and those pages don’t fly by. In the traditional sense at least. Here is the thing about Tess though, it is a long book, it is winded and yet, I wouldn’t really have it any other way. The slowness can at times be exhausting but the book isn’t really about a big adventure that Tess takes. It’s about Tess’s character arc and her trauma. This book would NOT work if it was a speedy read you could flip through. It is a painful read but there is so //much// that Tess has internalized that it makes no sense if we could uncover her and her experience in a mere handful pages.

Tess is not…

Vaguely Narnia Vibes + Unicorns: The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko

Vaguely Narnia Vibes + Unicorns: The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko

Posted by on 02/07/2018 • 0 Comments

I love middle grade novels and I love discovering new ones. As far as I can see, The Unicorn Quest is shaping up to be a major middle grade release this year and it synopsis sounded up right up my alley. The vaguely Narnia vibes along with unicorns sounded like it would be an enthralling read.

Here is what I can tell you. The Unicorn Quest is an adventure of the best kind. We get sucked into a new world from the get-go and like the MC, we kind of have to assimilate to the new world we find ourselves in. This is great because we experience the world alongside the MC which allows us to form a special bond with her but it also means that it takes…

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…

Superhero Beginnings: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Superhero Beginnings: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Posted by on 09/14/2017 • 4 Comments

I want this review to start on an honest note and I would like to admit that I haven’t read any of the Wonder Woman comics or watched the movie that recently came out (for reasons I am not going to dive into for the purposes of this review.) However, I’ve always been fascinated by her and when I found out that Leigh Bardugo was the one writing the Wonder Woman origin story for the D.C. Icons series, I knew it was TIME.

The reason I even bother mentioning all of that is because I know that I won’t be able to speak to whether or not Leigh Bardugo did Wonder Woman justice (although, I am sure she did.) However, I ~can~ speak to this as an origin story and…