A Girl Like That

By: Tanaz Bhathena
Image result for 9781250294586Location: FIC BHA
Genre: Contemporary Ficture, Culture

A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved. 

“Fascinating and disturbing.” —Jodi Picoult,

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers; tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion; and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.

"Bhathena makes an impressive debut with this eye-opening novel about a free-spirited girl in present-day Saudi Arabia. . . . Bhathena’s novel should spur heated discussions about sexist double standards and the ways societies restrict, control, and punish women and girls." —Publishers Weekly

"A powerful debut." —School Library Journal

"A Girl Like That completely broke my heart in a million ways, some expected and others not. I was not prepared for the sheer beauty of this writing, which—coupled with the plot—tore me to pieces yet also left me with a profound sense of hope. Every sentence is so carefully constructed, but at the same time, everything feels effortless and smooth. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Tanaz’s writing is of the most elegant I’ve ever read in YA. 

You will love some of these characters. You will hate some of these characters. But above all, you will form an unbreakable attachment to their complexity and realness. The book begins with a terrible road accident, narrated by two teenagers who are newly dead. You know this from the beginning, and yet Tanaz’s writing is so unbelievably special that I couldn’t help but bond with them, even when I knew their eventual fate. 

This is an important book, and it’s also a difficult one: difficult in that it exposes the reader to a variety of topics (rape culture, religious expectations, domestic abuse) that other writers may not tackle so openly, so courageously, and with such grace. It is shocking and eye opening and honest and so very needed. It’s also an #ownvoices novel, which I especially appreciate. 

I recommend A Girl Like That without hesitation for any reader who wants to dive head first into a complex tale of love, religion, and culture." Carlie- Goodreads review


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