cover image Here to Stay

Here to Stay

Sara Farizan. Algonquin, $17.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-61620-700-7

A private New England high school becomes the scene of bigoted bullying in a timely novel by Farizan (If You Could Be Mine). When narrator Bijan Majidi, of Jordanian and Persian descent, scores a winning basket for the varsity basketball team, his popularity rises. It also garners him more friends and brings him closer to his crush, Elle, whom he joins in campaigning to change the school mascot, the Gunner, to something nonviolent. Then someone sends the entire school an anonymous email, captioned “Our New Mascot,” with an image of Bijan Photoshopped to portray him as a terrorist. While Bijan’s single mother and some classmates protest this hate crime, Bijan resists becoming the symbol for “eradicat[ing] campus intolerance.” But when a similar attack targets two of his lesbian friends, he realizes the issue goes far beyond himself, eventually leading him to take a courageous public stance. Bijan’s narrative voice includes imaginary live analysis from his two favorite NBA commentators, adding humor to heavy subject matter. A diverse cast of well-developed supporting characters, including several who Bijan thinks might be the cyberbully, add a suspenseful mystery to this top-notch high school drama. Ages 13–17. [em]Agent: Susan Ginsburg, Writers House. (Sept.) [/em]