Title: Zara Hossain Is Here
Author: Sabina Khan
Buy Link: Amazon
Synopsis: Zara’s family has waited years for their visa process to be finalized so that they can officially become US citizens. But it only takes one moment for that dream to come crashing down around them.
Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.
But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.
From the author of the “heart-wrenching yet hopeful” (Samira Ahmed) novel, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, comes a timely, intimate look at what it means to be an immigrant in America today, and the endurance of hope and faith in the face of hate.
This is my first read by this author and I was quite impressed. I enjoyed the way she mixed different cultures by using food, language, movies, music, and so much more. On top of this, she was able to give enough context to understand and learn about these cultures and she didn’t just hint at the idea and move on.
The story begins with Zara experiencing Islamophobic harassment from the star football player at school, but she has a strong network, friends, and family that supports her. This harassment escalates and it takes the story in a much darker and more complicated direction which I was not expecting.
Zara is a force to be reckoned with. She is a girl that loves her friends and her parents. She is also a person that wants to make the world a better place. This is a story of a young woman trying to take on racism and prejudice and fight them with all she has at her disposal. At the same time, the book is also about familial connections, community, and ethics. It is about a young girl who is growing into a woman whilst trying to figure out which battles to fight for her safety and happiness.
Overall, this book may have been a short read but It was informative, entertaining and all around enjoyable. I liked how the author made every single page have a purpose. She chose to carefully craft a story that was able to push her point across.
Thank you to Hear Our Voices Book Tours for having me on this one and to Scholastic Publishing for sending me a free E-copy VIA Edelweiss+ for review.
About the Author
Sabina Khan is the author of ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE (Scholastic/ April 6, 2021) and THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI (Scholastic, 2019). She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, two daughters and the best puppy in the world.