In an astute debut, Ahmed intertwines a multicultural teen’s story with a spare, dark depiction of a young terrorist’s act. High school senior Maya Aziz, a budding filmmaker, struggles with being the beloved and protected only child of Muslim immigrants from India while trying to live a “normal” American teenage life in Illinois and, more importantly, make her own decisions about her future. Stealthily defying her parents by applying to New York University and juggling appropriate and inappropriate love interests (all with the help of her maverick aunt), Maya finally gets up the courage to confront her parents when the terrorist’s actions unleash hatred on her and her family. Ahmed builds tension by preceding each chapter of Maya’s story with a terse paragraph leading to the imminent act of terror, then provides a startling twist; Maya’s final and uncharacteristic act of rebellion also comes as a surprise. The characters are fully dimensional and credible, lending depth to even lighter moments and interactions. Alternately entertaining and thoughtful, the novel is eminently readable, intelligent, and timely. Ages 14–up. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017 Release date: 01/16/2018 Genre: Children's
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