Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for allowing me an advance copy of this book.
I have been sitting at my laptop staring at the screen for a good ten minutes trying to figure out how to start this review.
So, you know how people say, “This book is so important!”? Most of the time I read said books and I don’t see it. I thought once it was because of my whiteness and how maybe I am not as good as great as an ally as I thought I was and I need to dig a little deeper to understand what some people go through. After reading this book, I realize now that I wasn’t reading the right books.
This book goes down with books like The Hate you Give, Dear Martin, All American Boys, American Street, The Opposite of Okay and those are just the ones I have read that tackled the hard stuff, that put you into someone’s shoes that you never thought possible; books that opened your eyes.
In this book, Shirin is a Muslim teen navigating high school a year after 9/11. To deal with the hatred and racism, she channels her anger into breakdancing with her brother, writing in her journal and music. When she meets, Ocean James, a non-Muslim, her protective walls begin to slip away. She’s aware of the implications of falling for him and how she doesn’t care but does simultaneously.
In this book, I felt myself right in Shirin’s shoes. My stomach twisted in some scenes, and I smiled like an idiot in others. Here I am, a straight white woman, seeing what it’s like even now for people of color and I thought I understood it. I didn’t. I don’t. Maybe I never will. But it won’t stop me from learning and helping. It won’t stop me from fighting.
So, I’m still sitting here after finishing this book not too long ago, and I am still hurting. I got me thinking that maybe some people did see the error of their ways in this book, but how long will it take for everyone else? How can we treat our fellow human beings the way we do? When will it end?
What hurts most is why it even started to begin with.
I usually end my review with, you all need to read this! I recommend it for etc. etc. etc. But with this one I’m going to end it with, WE NEED MORE OF THESE BOOKS BECAUSE THE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.
And the world definitely needs changing.