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Age recommendation: girls ages 10-13
Islamic screening: Jam doesn’t perform prayers much and says her her father doesn’t either. I am not saying all Muslim make their prayers perfectly, but it does concern me to mention this so flippantly and trivialize this issue. Another issue I had was the relationship between Ali and Jam. Jam has a crush on him, which wasn’t the problem, but what bothered me was them admitting it to each other in the end; I just feel like romance is unnecessary in middle grade and it felt strange to me.
I don’t know how the parents had an issue with Maryam, the older sister, dating a Non-Muslim and going to prom, but then they let Ali and Jam hang out so freely. It seems to say that it is being non-muslim that is the problem, which is a misconception. Jam and Ali discuss why dating is prohibited by the parents, but they laugh it off and seem to imply that it is a backwards cultural tradition they don’t understand.
Synopsis: Jam is a 7th grader who really loves to write, and wants to be a famous reporter. Her dad moves to Abu Dhabi for a job, and she is upset at this, especially since they have a specia bond. In her father’s absence however, she realizes she has more in common with her mother than she thought. Bisma, her favorite sister, gets cancer and Jam has to step up and gain maturity in how she treats her sisters, even Aleeza, the “spoiled baby” of the family. She also matures in her relationships at school (faces Micro-aggression), as well as helps her new friend Ali in dealing with his own father’s death. She also works towards her goal of being a famous journalist, like her grandfather in Pakistan.
Honestly, this book made me laugh and cry, and I couldn’t wait until it was resolved at the end. The story is a beautiful nod to the classic “Little Women”, and I saw many delightful references woven through the text.
The book is wonderfully put together, and I enjoyed it, though I did find some parts of it a little forced.
Hena Khan is a brilliant writer and the book is a positive representation of Muslims in traditional publishing.
price: 13.37 usd
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