This is a little bit different from what I normally do, but I was perusing Twitter when I saw this:
In my head, I was hyperventilating. I had heard Tahereh Mafi was going to move away from her high fantasy books to write something that felt much more autobiographical.
I knew that it would be about being Muslim American and the months and years after 9/11.
However, I didn’t think I would get to read an excerpt from the book. I didn’t think I would read it today, a few days after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the travel ban from Muslim-oriented countries.
Here’s what the book is about
It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.
Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.
But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.
So I read the excerpt while slurping spicy noodles for lunch and right off the bat, I knew that this will be another amazing story about Muslim Americans that needs to be boosted on all social media platforms. Since this exclusive excerpt was shared on Entertainment Weekly, I’ll share the link to that article below:
Now, even though I’ve only read this excerpt and highly anticipating reading the rest of this novel, I do want to share some quotes and reflections that resonated with me. You can find these after the jump!