Since I missed last Friday’s post, have a happy three-post blog week! Friday’s post was intended to be on this book. It wasn’t on my radar, but a coworker gave me access to her ARC collection and I picked this one up out of the stack. By the time I read it, the book had already been published.
American-Indian Muslim teen Maya Aziz is living out what you might expect from any teen…choosing between what her parents want for her, and what Maya actually wants. The tumultuous nature of Maya’s life, and the conflict with her parents, falls even more apart when a horrible crime is committed by someone with her family’s last name.
The is story is a coming of age tale about Maya, but it also provides commentary on the state of racism in our nature. The controlling parents is a sad, but almost expected, nature of growing up. The racism Maya deals with is definitely not. I can’t really say much more without spoiling a surprising moment, but the book really makes you think about your own stereotypes of different groups. So, in the end, this book is relatable from the growing up standpoint, and manages to make you think about heavy topics along the way.
Maya goes a lot things I never dealt with growing up. Though, to be honest, is not really a good reflection of my growing up. My parents were plenty controlling, but unlike Maya I never fought back. I wonder what life would be if I had? But that’s a moot point. Though I didn’t directly have conflict like Maya, it did resonate with me.
What conflict does Maya deal with, you may ask? Pretty standard stuff: Her parents expect her to date and marry an Indian-Muslim, and to attend a college close to home. Her parents also wish she would pick a more sensible career path (she wants to be a filmmaker), though that is less of a conflict than the other two.
For readers who have similar conflicts with their parents, this book will probably be stressful. There are a lot of ups and downs in the book, with more downs than the ups. The ending is happy, though also a bit ominous. It has the elements of a light, fluffier YA contemporary romance, but it also has a dark streak to it. It was a fast and engaging read, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, despite the stress and the heavy topics.
And like I said in the beginning, it’s not a book that was on my radar…or that I would have seeked with great enthusiasm. As look would have it, the book found me instead…and I’m really glad I read it.