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Noreen’s high school graduation isn’t exactly how she pictured it. I mean, in some ways it was exactly what she’d imagined–parents getting teary-eyed over cliche speeches about achieving your dreams, as if achieving dreams were actually plausible. More of her classmates would be hit by buses than win a Nobel Prize. Most of life is out of their control. Case in point: Noreen’s aunt should be here, but instead she’s in her grave.

When Noreen’s mother is offered an year-long work opportunity in India, Noreen thinks that maybe this is what they need to start processing their grief and for her to sort out her life and get past her writer’s block. After all, that’s what white people do, right? Go to India to find themselves? But the first person she finds in India is Kabir, a boy who’s off the hotness index and immediately becomes a friend (and dare she hope something more?). But when Kabir’s father is MeTooed, Noreen is forced to examine her beliefs about love, loyalty, and family as she realizes that finding “herself” depends a lot on finding her place in relationships with those she cares about.

How refreshing to find an exploration of grief and complex moral issues in the form of a laugh-out-loud rom com! Noreen’s voice is a delight to read and the heavier themes are woven through the narrative poetically in a way that never dragged me down and kept me thinking long after the book ended. Highly recommend to fans of YA contemporary fiction! The Marvelous Mirza Girls (9780062845481): Karim, Sheba: Books

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