Shabnam Qureshi is a funny, imaginative Pakistani-American teen attending a tony private school in suburban New Jersey. When her feisty best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf without even consulting her, it begins to unravel their friendship. After telling a huge lie about a tragedy that happened to her family during the Partition of India in 1947, Shabnam is ready for high school to end. She faces a summer of boredom and regret, but she has a plan: Get through the summer. Get to college. Don’t look back. Begin anew.
Everything changes when she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack, and meets her there every afternoon. Shabnam begins to see Jamie and herself like the rose and the nightingale of classic Urdu poetry, which, according to her father, is the ultimate language of desire. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating—her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but Farah finds Jamie worrying.
With Farah’s help, Shabnam uncovers the truth about Jamie, about herself, and what really happened during Partition. As she rebuilds her friendship with Farah and grows closer to her parents, Shabnam learns powerful lessons about the importance of love, in all of its forms.
Featuring complex, Muslim-American characters who defy conventional stereotypes and set against a backdrop of Radiohead’s music and the evocative metaphors of Urdu poetry, THAT THING WE CALL A HEART is a honest, moving story of a young woman’s explorations of first love, sexuality, desire, self-worth, her relationship with her parents, the value of friendship, and what it means to be true.
Disclaimer: A huge thanks to Bloomsbury India for the Review Copy but the thoughts, opinions and feelings expressed are my own!
I thought I knew what I was getting into with this book – a coming – of – age book but with a Muslim protagonist and I went in thinking while it might be different, it still might be predictable – and how wrong my assumption was.
This is story of Shabnam, a young Pakistani – American girl on the verge of joining college and her relationship with the world around her. She is a Muslim girl, but she rarely is observant of her religion – and when her best friend Farah starts wearing hijab is when things start to unravel for her.
This book was so much more than just a coming of age story – this is the story of a young girl’s struggle to reconcile her own identity with the one that she feels that society thrusts upon her; all the while trying to understand the way the matters of heart in her life.
I adored how the author made sure that anyone reading this book, regardless of their background or religious preferences might relate to the MC for she is exactly what I was like as a teenager – you just can’t help but empathize everything that she goes through, for you would have/ will have gone through the exact same thing or something similar.
This might have been a coming of age story; but it is a story that will resonate every person reading it, and even if that is not your cup of tea then read it because it is a fun and charming read that will leave you with a sense of relaxed feeling when you are done with it!
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