cover image Zara Hossain Is Here

Zara Hossain Is Here

Sabina Khan. Scholastic, $18.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-338-58087-7

As the only Muslim student at her Corpus Christi, Tex., high school, Zara Hossain, 17, faces microaggressions every day but cannot allow herself to show her frustration. She and her family are Pakistani immigrants and have been waiting almost nine years for the end of the torturously long approval process for American green cards; any justice she seeks would threaten that goal. When Tyler Benson—the local white “golden boy” and a leading instigator of Islamophobia among her classmates—vandalizes her locker with racist graffiti, Zara rightfully pursues his suspension. But Zara’s decision to speak out about the racism she experiences has staggering consequences: not only for her own family, but also throughout their close-knit, white community. Zara’s affectionate relationship with her parents results in a refreshingly non-stereotypical reception to her bisexuality, and a same-sex romance with a “queer Catholic” girl enables a deeper exploration of the intersection between white privilege and religion. The prose at times lacks adequate description, inhibiting readers’ full immersion into the narrative, but Khan (The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali) creates a gripping story line centering the conflict between prejudice and tolerance. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Hillary Jacobson, ICM Partners. (Apr.) [/em]