I am a Bookshop.org affiliate. If you make a purchase by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a commission, and Bookshop.org will donate a matching commission to independent booksellers. For more information, see my “About” page.
Zara may be the only Muslim at her Corpus Christi high school, but for the most part, her life is good. She has two best friends who get her, an awesome social justice club where she gets to make a real difference in her community, the absolute coolest teacher and mentor (who’s queer like her!), and loving parents who accept and support her for who she is. She’s almost done with her applications to all the Ivy League colleges, and her dad’s green card application is just a few months from being accepted.
In fact, life would be pretty great if it weren’t for Tyler.
Zara deals with microaggressions all the time, but football start Tyler takes the racism and xenophobia to a new level. And when his bullying turns violent, all of the good things in Zara’s life are suddenly threatened, including her family’s green card. Faced with the prospect of returning to Pakistan–where she could never be openly bisexual–Zara frantically searches for a way for her family to stay in Texas. Because America is where you come for a better life, right?
Zara finds no easy answers in this nuanced novel about racism, homophobia, and the gut-wrenching flaws in America’s immigration and justice systems. But despite the hard-hitting subject matter and complete lack of sugar-coating, Zara’s indomitable voice and the love and idealism that bind her to her support community keep the novel enjoyable and hopeful even in the darkest moments. An honest and rousing call for change through a character’s frustrating, heartbreaking struggle to be treated as human–highly recommend!