- Let’s get this out of the way first: I loved this book so very hard. I suspected I would love it, but my actual love clocks in at much higher level than my expectations.
- Maya, our teenage protagonist, had me rooting for her every minute of this book. She’s smart and funny and conflicted and passionate and talented and determined, and I adored her.
- Maya’s enthusiasm for filmmaking made me smile. I so wholeheartedly love witnessing other people’s passions. It leaves me full of joy even when I know nothing about the subject in question. Like Annie’s passion for chemistry. Or Ana’s passion for Sufjan Stevens and his music. So yes, even through the pages of a book, I got to experience a little burst of vicarious passion.
- The writing was a thing of beauty. Not in a flowery, lyrical way. But in a stop-me-in-my-tracks-and-make-me-read-that-bit-again way. These quick little moments of stripped down naked truth. There were many of them.
…Besides the slight stirring of the wind through the leaves, there are no sounds. I’m alone. Literally. Metaphorically. And in all the other ways I don’t know quite how to name….
- I love how well Samira Ahmed made this two coming of age stories in one. Not two different people coming of age, but one lovely girl coming of age in two cultures. And it’s always preferable to have an #ownvoices author when reading about experiences and identities that are not my own.
- There are utterly horrific examples of racism and Islamophobia in this book. Ahmed handled them so deftly, with thoughtfulness and nuance. Some of the tears I shed during this book were for the fact that this book so accurately reflects our country. I would like to say more, but won’t for spoiler sake.
- Maya’s aunt Hina was such a lovely role model and champion for Maya.
- I can’t say much, again for spoiler sake, but I love the story of Kareem and Maya. Hooray for non-drama sometimes.