This story will absolutely break you into a million pieces and build you back up again into a new person. Noor and Salahudin are teenagers who have grown up together pulled together by their shared Pakistani history. Both immigrated as children; Noor under the care of her uncle after her parents were killed and Sala with his parents dreaming of a new life. They are best friends who have a falling out over their attraction to one another. They are slowly brought back together as when Sala’s mother dies. Together they face the truth of who their parents are, who they want to be and the costly decisions they make to survive.
Salahudin is such a sweet and complex character. He is trying so hard to do what is best for his family amidst grief and all of the struggles of immigrant life. His father has such a heartbreaking story and the turn his story takes is awful. He makes a terrible choice and the ripple effect is devastating.
Jaime was the worst “white” caricature I’ve ever seen. In listening to the audiobook, I nearly bailed on it because of his character. I completely understand these people exist but holy hell was she horrifying and terrible. I was completely with Noor on her rage here. What we see is the terrifying treatment of immigrants, especially “brown” ones. I wish there were at least one white ally in this story, but I do realize that this is the likely reality for many immigrants around the country.
This story takes on a lot of issues beyond the immigrant story including alcoholism, medical disparities, domestic abuse and drug use. They are handled with such care and have powerful arcs. Do yourself a favor and read this story, it will stay with you for a long time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks to Libro.fm for access to this title via their ALC program. All opinions above are my own.
What are you reading today?