cover image Call Me Adnan

Call Me Adnan

Reem Faruqi. HarperCollins, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06328-494-4

In stirring, lilting verse, Faruqi (Golden Girl) delivers a heartbreaking novel about grief and moving forward in which a tween attempts to cope with the death of a loved one. Effervescent 12-year-old Adnan Zakir knows exactly who he is: an avid table tennis player, a loved member of his tight-knit Muslim family, and big brother to and frequent caretaker for his toddler brother, Riz. Excited to participate in a prestigious table tennis tournament in Orlando, he’s looking forward to his family traveling from their Atlanta hometown to visit relatives during Eid. But when Riz drowns in the pool at their rented house, Adnan wrestles with guilt (“Abu always says,/ Watch out for your baby brother./ But I didn’t watch him.../ and now he’s gone”) and feelings of loneliness, and struggles to find joy in his passions. Faruqi renders this tender story of loss with a deft hand, employing vivid details surrounding Adnan’s Pakistani Muslim identity—including sensate depictions of Eid celebrations, attending masjid, and Riz’s funeral—and nuanced characterizations to present a tear-jerking ode to family. Swimming resources and a glossary conclude. Ages 8–12. (June)