cover image The Beauty of the Moment

The Beauty of the Moment

Tanaz Bhathena. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-30844-5

Bhathena (A Girl like That) weaves forbidden love and love gone awry into her story of a high school senior adjusting to Western culture. Raised in Saudi Arabia, Susan now lives in Canada with her mother while her father continues to practice medicine overseas. Attending a coed school is a novelty for sheltered Susan, and she soon finds herself drawn to rebellious Malcolm—a friendship she hides from her strict parents, who are getting a divorce. Also a secret are her dreams for the future: instead of fulfilling her parents’ wishes by becoming a doctor or engineer, she wants to attend art school. Malcolm is holding on to secrets of his own about his charged relationship with his father and stepmother. The characters can feel clichéd, but this dramatic romance, told from Susan and Malcolm’s alternating viewpoints, authentically traces the teens’ gradual changes as they come to terms with mistakes they’ve made and who they want to be. Ages 12–up. [em](Feb.) [/em]