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A Girl Like That
Cover of A Girl Like That
A Girl Like That
Fascinating and disturbing." —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving TimeA timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the...
Fascinating and disturbing." —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving TimeA timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the...
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  • Fascinating and disturbing." —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time

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

    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.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • TANAZ BHATHENA is the author of the critically acclaimed A Girl Like That, which received two starred reviews. It was also shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association White Pine Award, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, a Quill & Quire Book of the Year, a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book for Teens, and a New York Public Library Notable Best Book for Teens. Tanaz lives in Mississauga, Ontario, with her family.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 27, 2017
    Bhathena makes an impressive debut with this eye-opening novel about a free-spirited girl in present-day Saudi Arabia. Orphaned at a young age, Zarin Wadia moves in with her uncle and abusive aunt, who constantly shames and beats her. “Some people hide, some people fight to cover up their shame,” Zarin explains. “I was always the kind of person who fought.” Her treatment at school is even worse—she’s shunned for being different (she’s Zoroastrian, for starters) and responds by smoking cigarettes and sneaking out with boys. After Zarin gets reacquainted with a childhood friend, Porus, she becomes dependent on him for escape, protection, and the type of gentle affection she has not felt since her mother’s death. Readers know from the outset that Zarin and Porus die in a gruesome car accident, and their reflective post-death narratives share space with chapters written from the perspectives of others in their orbits. Bhathena’s novel should spur heated discussions about sexist double standards and the ways societies restrict, control, and punish women and girls. Ages 14–up. Agent: Eleanor Jackson, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2018

    Gr 8 Up-When Zarin and her friend Porus die in a car accident in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, everyone, from the religious police to Zarin's classmates, is suspicious-was Porus one of Zarin's many romantic liaisons? Only the deceased teens know the truth, and as their spirits hover above the wreckage, they look back on what led up to this point. Raised by her aunt and uncle, Zarin knows that her origins are a shameful secret to her family ("Illegitimate. Half-Hindu. Gangster's daughter."). Her domineering aunt, who fears seeing Zarin follow the same path as her "loose" mother, keeps a tight grip on the girl, to no avail. After the teen and her family move from Mumbai, India, to Jeddah, she defies convention, dating boys and smoking, but reconnecting with gentle Porus, who's been entranced by Zarin since they met as children. He helps to soften her hard exterior. Bhathena's lithe prose effortlessly wends between past and present. This contemplative novel is primarily narrated by the two young people, both outsiders as non-Muslims and Indians in Saudi Arabia, but the author also incorporates the perspectives of "insiders": Zarin's ex-boyfriend Abdullah; his righteous sister, Mishal, who bullies Zarin for her wayward behavior; and Farhan, the popular but predatory student on whom Zarin nurses a crush. Though these many voices aren't always distinct, together they portray a restrictive society that attempts to subdue every woman, whether a stickler for the rules like Mishal, or a rebel like Zarin. VERDICT A powerful debut; for most collections.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    When Zarin Wadia dies in a car crash with a boy named Porus, no one in her South Asian community in Jeddah is surprised--what else would you expect from a girl like that?Originally from Mumbai, half-Parsi, half-Hindu Zarin moved in with her aunt and uncle after her mother died. The family relocated to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to escape rumors about Zarin's mother's death, plunging her into a world of abuse and gender-based restrictions against which she rebelled. It was only after Porus, a Parsi friend from Mumbai, moved to Jeddah for work that Zarin began to reconsider her behavior--and her capacity for love. Featuring a diverse cast of Arab and South Asian characters of various classes and faiths, the story is a gripping and nuanced portrait of how teens, both boys and girls, react to patriarchy (the novel contains graphic descriptions of abuse and sexual assault). Bhathena's prose can be stilted, and her excessive use of multiple voices limits both character development and the resolution of some storylines. In addition, the beginning and ending chapters narrated by Zarin's ghost feel disjointed from the otherwise searingly realistic narrative. All in all, though, the book is a fast-paced, fascinating read about a community rarely seen in young adult novels in the West.A refreshingly nuanced narrative about gender in the Middle East. (Romance. 16-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (Online Review)

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