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God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

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LIKE NANCY DREW, BUT NOT... Craving a taste of teenage life, Asiya Haque defies her parents to go for a walk (really, it was just a walk!) in the woods with Michael, her kind-of-friend/crush/the guy with the sweetest smile she’s ever seen. Her tiny transgression goes completely off track when they stumble on a dead body. Michael covers for Asiya, then goes missing himself. D LIKE NANCY DREW, BUT NOT... Craving a taste of teenage life, Asiya Haque defies her parents to go for a walk (really, it was just a walk!) in the woods with Michael, her kind-of-friend/crush/the guy with the sweetest smile she’s ever seen. Her tiny transgression goes completely off track when they stumble on a dead body. Michael covers for Asiya, then goes missing himself. Despite what the police say, Asiya is almost sure Michael is innocent. But how will she, the sheltered girl with the strictest parents ever, prove anything? With Michael gone, a rabid police officer in desperate need of some sensitivity training, and the murderer out there, how much will Asiya risk to do what she believes is right?


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LIKE NANCY DREW, BUT NOT... Craving a taste of teenage life, Asiya Haque defies her parents to go for a walk (really, it was just a walk!) in the woods with Michael, her kind-of-friend/crush/the guy with the sweetest smile she’s ever seen. Her tiny transgression goes completely off track when they stumble on a dead body. Michael covers for Asiya, then goes missing himself. D LIKE NANCY DREW, BUT NOT... Craving a taste of teenage life, Asiya Haque defies her parents to go for a walk (really, it was just a walk!) in the woods with Michael, her kind-of-friend/crush/the guy with the sweetest smile she’s ever seen. Her tiny transgression goes completely off track when they stumble on a dead body. Michael covers for Asiya, then goes missing himself. Despite what the police say, Asiya is almost sure Michael is innocent. But how will she, the sheltered girl with the strictest parents ever, prove anything? With Michael gone, a rabid police officer in desperate need of some sensitivity training, and the murderer out there, how much will Asiya risk to do what she believes is right?

30 review for God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tori (InToriLex)

    Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex Part murder mystery, family drama, and romance this is a really engaging peak into a Muslim family's life. Asiya is not only adventurous but relateable and  really funny. Asiya's humor helped me deal with the uncomfortable feelings I had about her Mom repeatedly saying girls mixing with boys brings Satan. This short book, made me feel a range of emotions while reading, and I was happy to care about the characters described. Micheal is Asiya's friend who Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex Part murder mystery, family drama, and romance this is a really engaging peak into a Muslim family's life. Asiya is not only adventurous but relateable and  really funny. Asiya's humor helped me deal with the uncomfortable feelings I had about her Mom repeatedly saying girls mixing with boys brings Satan. This short book, made me feel a range of emotions while reading, and I was happy to care about the characters described. Micheal is Asiya's friend who has lived a hard life, and brings up important life experiences that are glossed over in many young adult books. "He just didn't get what it was like to have to protect every ounce of freedom he had because he was a guy he was afforded way more than I was despite being four years younger." Asiya tries to abide by her strict Muslim parents rules, investigate a murder and deal with teenage hormones brought on by her first crush. While there was plenty that happened plot wise, the short chapters and flow of the narrative worked together seamlessly. Asiya grows up fast in this short book and has to confront some clear insensitivity and hostility that is directed at her religion and family. She stands up to the opposition she faces bravely, is smart, and could serve as a role model to young readers. "I patiently reminded myself that the circumference at my thighs had as much to do with muscle as it did fat. And that Nasreen Aunty's life was the stuff of my personal nightmares, so I should feel sorry for her."  This book was genre bending and memorable. I would recommend this to everyone who wants to take lighthearted peak into a Muslim family's life. Now more then ever readers should look for and read about people who are being targeted and marginalized in our society. I look forward to keeping up with this series as it continues. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Glaiza

    *I recommend readers check out #ownvoices reviews of this book such as Zaheerah's review, Saadia’s review and Ruzaika’s review for more insights. The novel’s dedication honours these readers and the future ones to come: ‘For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in books.’ This was a delight to read. I loved Asiya’s sense of humour, wit, and curiosity in tackling this mystery. Cont'd on the blog: https://paperwanderer.wordpress.com/2... *I recommend readers check out #ownvoices reviews of this book such as Zaheerah's review, Saadia’s review and Ruzaika’s review for more insights. The novel’s dedication honours these readers and the future ones to come: ‘For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in books.’ This was a delight to read. I loved Asiya’s sense of humour, wit, and curiosity in tackling this mystery. Cont'd on the blog: https://paperwanderer.wordpress.com/2...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ruzaika

    Received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the author I've always love dedications in books, and this one was no exception- For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in books. How many times have you seen yourself represented in fiction? A couple? More than that? Never? If you ask me, I'd say not enough. The times where I've read and seen someone go through what I do on a daily basis, the times where a protagonist's circumstance are so similar to mine tha Received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the author I've always love dedications in books, and this one was no exception- For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in books. How many times have you seen yourself represented in fiction? A couple? More than that? Never? If you ask me, I'd say not enough. The times where I've read and seen someone go through what I do on a daily basis, the times where a protagonist's circumstance are so similar to mine that I may as well be leading the life I'm reading about are so far and apart that I've- subconsciously perhaps- stopped expecting it from books. And then comes a book so unexpectedly, a book that puts into words what you've always been thinking of, a book that reads like it could be your own thoughts and you're shook. This was that book for me. You know the kind of book where every other page you're reminded of yourself? The kind of book where you groan and say "this is so me"? Yes, this was that book for me, right from the first page. Asiya Haque is a Muslim, a Canadian with Bangladeshi roots, whose faith is constantly tested by those around her. She is a straight-A student, obedient to her parents, never breaking the rules, always patient, patient, so patient that even when she'd rather be talking back and voicing her own opinions, she'd rather stay silent. She's put in a tough spot and this is where the story takes off. I tried to relax, but I couldn’t and I didn’t know why. It’s just a walk. It’s just a walk. It’s just a walk with a guy I have a crush on alone in the woods. It wasn’t like I really believed Satan would appear at any second, commanding me beyond my will to do his bidding. But then I figured that wasn’t how Satan rolled. Ishara Deen's debut follows Asiya as she tries to go about proving that her crush friend Michael is not responsible for a murder- but how can she do that when Michael himself goes missing? And how can she do this when she has the strictest parents ever and her whereabouts are constantly monitored? In this fast-paced, well-written #ownvoices novel, we see what Asiya- and any Muslim girl, really- has to go through on a daily basis. I'm lucky enough to say my parents aren't as strict as Asiya's are, but the rules we have to put up with, the people we have to appease and just how much we have to go through to just stay in the good books of our parents are all so well-portrayed in this book. What I loved most about God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems is that it doesn't paint the situation in a bad light. Instead, it shows us, in a non-dramatic, real way, the kind of problems the very people around us and our very own community may pose when it comes to doing what we want to do, but it also shows the good side of things. We see how Asiya's mother is constantly behind her to make sure she sticks to the rules, but we are also shown how much she'd go out of her way to defend her daughter and protect her. We see the strict disciplinarian in her father, but we also see how much love he has for her and the efforts he takes to understand her. We are shown how her brother is given the kind of freedom she never would be given, but we are also shown the beautiful bond between the two siblings. Asiya's story is that of a Muslim girl, told by a Muslim author- but it's a story for everyone. We have the perfect older sister, the overbearing but well-meaning parents, the tentative relationship between Asiya and Michael and the loyal, undestanding bff in Em. And what's more, we have regular visits to the mosque, parotas, lounggis, annoying aunties and people who have taken it upon themselves to be the religious police. What I really enjoyed was Asiya's constant inner monologue with God. Now, I'm aware that not all Muslims would do that, but I certainly do. Bargaining with God, repenting, thinking through things- Asiya does all that in the most delightful way. So God, I could really use some help. You see, I’m not too great with this signs business. Like I’ve got this itchy, irritating feeling in my chest, but I’m not sure if You’re telling me something or it’s my dinner coming back up because my stomach is currently higher than my head. Ma’s fish curry pushing its way past my stomach sphincter and back up my esophagus would do that too, You know? So could You please, please help me out by making it really, really clear what the right thing to do is in this case? God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems was a very engaging, entertaining, enlightening book with a terrific protagonist, and the only reason it receives a less than 5 star rating from me is because however much I related to the main character, I still wasn't as emotionally invested in the story as I would have liked and I felt the mystery could have been more...well, mysterious. I'm a sucker for good mysteries and therefore personally, I felt this one fell just a bit below the mark. In no way did that ruin my reading experience, but given that the blurb focuses mainly on the mystery and this does fall in that genre ultimately, I wish it had been more suspenseful. The story did, however, end in a cliffhanger and I simply cannot wait for the sequel! The story idea: 5/5 The realization of the story: 4/5 The characters: 5/5 The cover: 4/5 Enjoy factor: 5/5 Final rating: 4/5

  4. 4 out of 5

    zaheerah

    Received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the author When going on a walk with her crush, Michael, Asiya accidently stumbles across a dead body. Knowing that telling the police means revealing to her strict parents that she was with him, Michael covers for her but then goes missing himself. All the evidence points towards Michael but Asiya is sure he's innocent and is willing to risk everything to help Michael. This review is painful to write because I literally don't know what e Received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the author When going on a walk with her crush, Michael, Asiya accidently stumbles across a dead body. Knowing that telling the police means revealing to her strict parents that she was with him, Michael covers for her but then goes missing himself. All the evidence points towards Michael but Asiya is sure he's innocent and is willing to risk everything to help Michael. This review is painful to write because I literally don't know what else to say except that I loved this. It was such a fun read. All Asiya wants is a normal life but she's thrust into a murder mystery and has to use her wits to navigate her way through the investigation. It was such a fun and comical read. And serious at times, especially when Asiya begins to doubt Michael's innocence. And I really enjoyed the character of Asiya: she's a head strong lead and her faith and determination drives her to do good, even if she shouldn’t be doing much of the things she does. Even the attempt of bringing South Asian and Muslim problems forefront was good and done so well. (Asiya and her family are Bangladeshi and anytime I see a Bangladeshi character I immediately go  (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ ) Solving a murder is hard and Asiya struggles with it a lot, especially since she doesn't want to disappoint her family so she has to work around her family and community. She mentions the inconsistency of her community that allows boys more freedom and their gossiping nature that spreads like wildfire. I hope in the sequel we see Asiya use that to her advantage, like asking her brother to help and do something that she would've been easily caught doing but not him. God Smites is an enjoyable book. I turned every page and I immediately was like "this is so me!" I kind of related more to her younger brother: he just wants to play video games and struggles to pass Maths which is literally my entire educational experience.  I'm also in love with the book's dedication. For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in books. With God Smites, I get to read about a Muslim girl go through daily life that's similar to my own, where I can see myself in her actions and that's my favourite part of this book. It's such a real book which portrays such real characters without being stereotypical. Sure, her mother is very strict and her father too, but we also get to see them protect and try to understand Asiya. Their family dynamic was so relatable and funny. They all get frustrated and argue with each other but in the end, they do come together as a family. And that ending, guys, my jaw dropped. It ends with a big revelation and an even bigger cliffhanger. Can I have the sequel now? I'm going to end this review with my favourite part: He yelled a general, “Salam alaikum!” and made it halfway to the basement door before he realised something was off. I actually had to put my Kindle down because I was laughing so much because: 1. She's in the middle of being interrogated and he casually walks in like this 2. I do the same thing when I don't know if anyone's home 

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura (bbliophile)

    The author of God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems recently contacted me asking if I wanted to review her book. I said yes, because the synopsis was very intriguing and sounded unlike any book I’ve ever read before. I’m so glad I said yes, because I fell in love with the book, and here are 5 reasons why: 1) The main character, Asiya Haque, is definitely one of my favorite things about this book. She is funny (like, really funny), clever, and very witty. She also cares a lot about the people The author of God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems recently contacted me asking if I wanted to review her book. I said yes, because the synopsis was very intriguing and sounded unlike any book I’ve ever read before. I’m so glad I said yes, because I fell in love with the book, and here are 5 reasons why: 1) The main character, Asiya Haque, is definitely one of my favorite things about this book. She is funny (like, really funny), clever, and very witty. She also cares a lot about the people around her. Reading this book from her point of view was a delight. 2) I always love a good family relationship in a book, and this book definitely has it. Sure, Asiya has a few problems with her parents, but what teenager doesn’t? And even while they do have some fights, you can clearly see that they love each other. I especially loved Asiya’s relationship with her little brother. He’s adorable, and he reminds me a lot of my own brother. 3) I loved the scenes between Asiya and Michael! Their interactions are adorable (especially in one particular scene, you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve read the book), and I really liked seeing how much Michael respects Asiya’s boundaries. However, I’m still not sure about my feelings towards Michael… 4) I loved Ishara Deen’s writing! It pulled me in from the start, and I couldn’t put the book down. Her voice is very different from what I’m used to, but that made me love the book even more. 5) I normally never read mystery books, because I can usually see the ‘twist’ coming a mile away (thanks to the hundreds of episodes of CSI and NCIS I’ve seen, haha) but this book took a turn I didn’t expect, and I loved it. It definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. So all in all, I really enjoyed reading this book, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Saadia Faruqi

    This review was published in Blue Minaret literary magazine. Move over, Nancy Drew. There’s a new teen detective in town and she’s much more nuanced and layered than you could ever be. Introducing Asiya Haque, A Bengali Canadian girl whose main goal in life is to be normal. She’s got a lot on her plate: a mother whom every South Asian girl can recognize, a mosque community that’s as inquisitive and gossipy as one could possibly imagine, and a younger brother who’s a pain in the a**. All Asiya want This review was published in Blue Minaret literary magazine. Move over, Nancy Drew. There’s a new teen detective in town and she’s much more nuanced and layered than you could ever be. Introducing Asiya Haque, A Bengali Canadian girl whose main goal in life is to be normal. She’s got a lot on her plate: a mother whom every South Asian girl can recognize, a mosque community that’s as inquisitive and gossipy as one could possibly imagine, and a younger brother who’s a pain in the a**. All Asiya wants is to go to high school, volunteer with the local conservation group, and maybe even chat with cute newcomer Michael. But life has other plans for her, and when a dead body turns up in the woods, and Michael goes missing, she’s thrust into a mystery whether she likes it or not. What follows is a fun read, comic at times, serious as heck at other times, as Asiya is sucked into the situation in order to help prove Michael’s innocence. Only she’s not that sure he’s really innocent, or just preying on her to get what he wants. What a deliciously dangerous conundrum! God Smites may have an unusual name for the genre, but the novel itself is genre-bending in my opinion. It’s definitely a mystery/thriller complete with cops of uncertain loyalties, hostage situations in the woods, and cars trying to ram into the heroine to silence her. At the same time it’s something more: almost a literary undertaking with an attempt to bring South Asian and Muslim problems to the forefront. Asiya’s mom is so stereotypically obsessed with protecting her daughter from boys it’s hilarious in its truth. The mosque’s sermonizing Imam, the gossip-ready aunties, and the men who just want to be excluded from all the drama, are all characters so real you could touch them. You know these people, even if you’re not Muslim. They could be your neighbors, members of your church, your crazy relatives. Ishara Deen has written a fabulous book. It’s a long time since I read YA, but once I started I couldn’t put it down. The writing is great, something one cannot say of all indie authors, and it’s message is wonderfully received without preaching. It’s a lighthearted mystery, a heavy commentary on social immigrant issues, and a painful wait until the second book in the series, so that I can know what happened to the handsome Michael.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review Before I dive into the review, I need to get this out of the way. For me, this book took “seeing yourself in a book” to a whole other level, a very literal one, because the girl on the cover looks almost exactly like me. It’s creepy you guys haha, she’s even dressed like I used to when I was in high school. Joke aside, this was such an awesome book, wi Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review Before I dive into the review, I need to get this out of the way. For me, this book took “seeing yourself in a book” to a whole other level, a very literal one, because the girl on the cover looks almost exactly like me. It’s creepy you guys haha, she’s even dressed like I used to when I was in high school. Joke aside, this was such an awesome book, with very personal, relatable moments, some of which I never experienced and never thought I could experience one day. The dedication says it all: “For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in books”. And I’m happy that little Muslim girls now have this book. Moving on. Ishara‘s writing is witty, funny and pulled me in immediately. She was able to portray the authentic voice of a Muslim girl who’s trying to find the perfect balance between living under her parents’ very conservative roof and doing things that make her happy, having a crush, helping him find his biological parents AND helping free and innocent man. It’s safe to say that the girl had a busy schedule. She took a trope that was overused and all of us Muslim girls are tired off and turned it around to have Asiya save the non-Muslim boy and not the other way around. My insides were squealing of joy. I absolutely ADORED the mystery in this book, I wasn’t able to determine who the killer really was and even when they were revealed, I was like “scuse you, what?” but it was brilliant and made perfect sense. And that’s how I love my mysteries, to be unpredictable but most of all to make me think that I had it all figured out when I didn’t. I think that how everything was linked and the different characters connected was really clever. Asiya is honestly everything I want to see in our representation in books. She’s kickass, very resourceful and smart. The girl is also hilarious. You know how when you don’t talk about something, it’s the thing that you always think about? That’s Asiya with sex, it is such a taboo in her community (as it is in a lot of Muslim communities) her obsession with it had me in tears, I couldn’t stop laughing. One thing I also appreciated about her is how she didn’t have that need to rebel against her parents because of how protective -and let’s face it- suffocating they were. She still loved and respected them, wanting to make them happy even if she actually went behind their backs to help people, which she knew they’d disapprove of because 1/ They don’t like Michael 2/She puts herself in danger. But she’s convinced that’s what God wants her to do. So she does. And she ALWAYS gets discovered. Also, can we talk about her monologues to God, I CAN TOTALLY RELATE. All the bargaining, and pleading, and thanking. I don’t know if everyone does that but I definitely do. It was really funny because she’s be absolutely screwed, doing the dumbest things, knowing the outcome would be disastrous and she’ll hope against all hope that she’ll make it out. Spoiler: She doesn’t. “So God, I could really use some help. You see, I’m not too great with this signs business. Like I’ve got this itchy, irritating feeling in my chest, but I’m not sure if You’re telling me something or it’s my dinner coming back up because my stomach is currently higher than my head. Ma’s fish curry pushing its way past my stomach sphincter and back up my esophagus would do that too, You know? So could You please, please help me out by making it really, really clear what the right thing to do is in this case?” “Also, thank you God. You might not like me much, but I can still admit that this could have turned out much, much worse.” Her parents are some heavy duty Muslim parents. They need to sit down, drink some water or something. Though I get where they come from and that they love her and mean well. Her mom  is the one who needs to chill the most, she thinks that just the fact of being surrounded by boys will make Asiya take her clothes of and have sex with any if not all of them, that was equally frustrating and hilarious but she is also a super-mamabear who’d do anything for her daughter and the badass things she did kind of made up for most of her over the top behaviors. Her dad on the other hand is the voice of wisdom who lets his wife take the lead until he thinks that she went too far with her restrictions. I love how he is more moderate in his views, very gentle with Asiya but doesn’t mind putting his foot down and being strict when she does things that deserve it. One relationship that was particularly heartwarming is the one she had with her little brother, Adil was such a sweet boy and he admired her more than anyone which lifted her spirits when she needed it the most. I can’t really say that I related with Asiya’s struggles because my family dynamic is very different from hers but community wise, I did. Oh how I did! Like the fact that girls have less freedom than boys (even the younger ones), how some aunties like to be in everyone’s business or how some Imams need to have their brains carved out and replaced because of their very mysogonistic views, luckily, the one in our masjid is wonderful and very inspirational so I don’t have to deal with that frequently. All in all, this was a very fun, quick and in some ways relatable read. I can’t wait for the second installment in the series to see what adventure Asiya goes on next but one thing that I’m very interested in seeing is where Michael’s arc goes from where the book left him. Very intrigued, indeed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ayah

    I received a review copy in exchange with an honest review. A muslim version of Nancy Drew?????? Gimme that book! Asiya is a Canadian-Bengali teenager who always obeys her parents, even if they are really strict, and might give her ridiculous demands. Although my parents were never that strict, I was happy to see this #ownvoices representation. A lot of muslim girls would be able to relate to the main character for the first time in their lives, thanks to Ishara's book. She even dedicates this book I received a review copy in exchange with an honest review. A muslim version of Nancy Drew?????? Gimme that book! Asiya is a Canadian-Bengali teenager who always obeys her parents, even if they are really strict, and might give her ridiculous demands. Although my parents were never that strict, I was happy to see this #ownvoices representation. A lot of muslim girls would be able to relate to the main character for the first time in their lives, thanks to Ishara's book. She even dedicates this book to them. "For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in books." For Asiya, boys are definitely a big no-no. And she doesn't disobey her parents, until she went for a walk alone in the woods, and coincidentally, meets Micheal ( her crush). She equates what her mother told her and how she felt, and decides to run away from Micheal. That is when she stumbles on a dead body! " Me + Boy= invitation for Satan" Micheal is a suspect, and someone else is wrongly blamed, can Asiya help them out? Even with a jerk, Islamophobic cop on the case? Although this book covers a lot of some muslim girl problems, that doesn't mean that only muslim girls could enjoy it. It is a light, enjoyable read for everyone. It also shows how some Kids tend to kiss and tell everything because they believe it is a sin, but if he himself does it, it doesn't matter! The book covers how some Asian and Middle Eastern are even more strict when it comes to grades. ‘And there it was, the magic key that made the biggest sacrifices okay in our family: higher education.’ I love how Asiya went from obeying her parents, to developing a new kind of emotion, to actually trying to connect with God, to understanding what wrong and right means, to rebuilding her parents' trust. I enjoyed reading this book! We really need more Muslim MC in literature. Thank you Ishara for writing this one I give it 4/5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    SmartBitches

    Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books This book was pitched to me as “Muslim Nancy Drew” and I couldn’t move my fingers fast enough to add it to the TBR-I (To Be Read IMMEDIATELY) list. While the mystery elements sometimes make abrupt turns and some of the secondary characters are a little awkwardly obvious, the core characters of Asiya Haque, her best friend, and her family are just delightful. Asiya Haque is a Muslim high school senior in Canada who is very protected by her family. She isn’ Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books This book was pitched to me as “Muslim Nancy Drew” and I couldn’t move my fingers fast enough to add it to the TBR-I (To Be Read IMMEDIATELY) list. While the mystery elements sometimes make abrupt turns and some of the secondary characters are a little awkwardly obvious, the core characters of Asiya Haque, her best friend, and her family are just delightful. Asiya Haque is a Muslim high school senior in Canada who is very protected by her family. She isn’t permitted to be alone with boys. She doesn’t attend after school activities in mixed company. Her world consists of her parents, her younger brother, her school, her masjid (mosque), and her volunteering job at a local nature conservancy – a sore point between Asiya and her mother, as her mother doesn’t trust the people there, and wants Asiya to volunteer at the masjid where she’s appropriately supervised. The tension is not merely a teenager investigating a murder, obviously – Asiya has to maneuver around and behind the expectations of her family and the rules of her conduct. She shouldn’t be doing much of any of the things she does – going to the dead woman’s apartment, lying about going to the conservancy and going out alone instead – but she’s driven by her own faith and moral determination: to not help when innocent people are accused is unacceptable. As much as Asiya struggles with the limitations placed on her as a young unmarried woman, she struggles just as much with not wanting to resent her family. She knows why her mother is so protective – at one point, Asiya mentions that her mother wears a hijab while Asiya does not. Asiya recognizes that her mother’s experience in the world outside their home and their masjid is very different and much more negative, scary, and painful than Asiya’s experience. Asiya also knows her family loves her, and she loves them, and wants to respect their rules, and the expectations of the faith she also shares. She does, however, resent the restrictions and the inconsistent culture of her community that allows boys so more freedom and so little penalty for infraction, as well as those people who report on any rule-breaking and enforce those rules on others with a mixture of shame, gossip, and humiliation. I really liked that while Asiya is aware of the rules and aware of how she’s breaking them, she’s also aware of how her faith and the lessons of the Prophet influence her determination to investigate the murder. Her Muslim faith is a guide; the rules of her Muslim community are often in her way. I’m spending a lot of time talking about the tension between Asiya’s desire to help and her desire to stay out of trouble and not bring shame to her family instead of the mystery part of the book because I think those elements are much stronger than the mystery itself. There aren’t that many characters in the cast, so figuring out who murdered the victim was somewhat easy. The mystery plot and its menacing characters shift positions very abruptly, in contrast with the subtlety and complexity of Asiya’s story inside the whodunit. There’s a sneak peek at the sequel, Mutaweenies and Other Muslim Girl Problems, and I definitely want to read it when it comes out. I hope the mystery is stronger in the sequel. (I’m also not going to explain “Mutaweenies” because Asiya is hilarious, and the development of her term is an extended part of this book and worth reading.) I really enjoyed this book and the complex and emotional resonance of Asiya’s story helped me overcome the faults of the mystery. Moreover, I simply loved learning about Asiya’s family, her mosque and her perspective. She’s terrific, and I’m very much looking forward to the sequel. - SB Sarah

  10. 5 out of 5

    bsolt

    See original post on Reading and Gaming for Justice: https://gamingforjustice.com/2017/03/... I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an one and honest review. Before reading my review of God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems, please read these fantastic #OwnVoices reviews of the book: Saadia’s review Ruzaika’s review Please let me know of other #OwnVoices reviews I can link up! ~~~~~~ God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems is an #OwnVoices young adult, contemporary mystery novel. This See original post on Reading and Gaming for Justice: https://gamingforjustice.com/2017/03/... I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an one and honest review. Before reading my review of God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems, please read these fantastic #OwnVoices reviews of the book: Saadia’s review Ruzaika’s review Please let me know of other #OwnVoices reviews I can link up! ~~~~~~ God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems is an #OwnVoices young adult, contemporary mystery novel. This first line of the book description is "LIKE NANCY DREW, BUT NOT..." I want to highlight the "BUT NOT" piece for one main reason. It is only like Nancy Drew in the fact that there is a mystery and the main character identifies as a young woman. Other than that, stand aside Nancy Drew because this book is leaps and bounds more interesting in both the mystery and the contemporary story. Now that we have that out of the way, we can continue onto the review! The story follows Asiya, a Muslim teenager, dealing with all the things teenagers deal with - school, parents, siblings, friends, crushes, oh, and a murder mystery. The mystery itself is well constructed and becomes a main focus of the story early on. Usually I find mysteries where I do not have all the information before the solution is revealed to be tedious. I really like trying to figure it out, using information presented. Now, all the evidence doesn't have to be direct evidence. I am fine with making inferences, as long there is a reasonable chance I will be able to deduce the answer. I have found in the past, I get frustrated when the solution is out of the blue and one I would never get to because key pieces of information were omitted from the story. In this case, I felt like I did not have all the information... but I was so enamored with the story and the mystery that I did not care. In addition, the mystery was central to the book and helped with the great character development of Asiya. Sometimes, mysteries are tacked on as a sub-plot, but the murder mystery was essential and helped highlight the key relationships and other dynamics in the book. The representation in this book is refreshing and unapologetic. Asiya, like I mentioned above, is a teenager like any other teenager, dealing with teenager things. Unlike many teenagers I have read about in young adult novels, Asiya has to negotiate and balance her experience as a Muslim daughter and her experience as an 'American' teen. This positive representation is much needed. Throughout a lot of the story and conflicts, we get a glimpse at the structure and dynamics of the Haque family. While many folks outside of Asiya's experience might see her family as stifling or overly strict, I got to see how strong her family is and how much they would sacrifice for each other. Asiya's mother wants the very best for her and would do anything for her daughter. Asiya's father shows his love with every interaction, supporting her while also pushing Asiya to be the best she can be. Asiya's brother, although clueless, is undoubtedly loyal to her in everything. The character that frustrated me to no end was the police officer, a White man of course. "In need to sensitivity training" is a bit of an understatement. What it showcased (and I think my frustration was intended by the author) is the huge gaps culturally between Asiya's family and community with the rest of the town. There are examples throughout the book but I saw the police officer in particular, do many things to exacerbate the cultural gaps. Unfortunately, the interactions in the book happen in real life. Regardless of the resolution of the mystery with the police (no spoilers here!), I never trusted the police or felt like they worked even the slightest to understand the perspectives Asiya and her family are coming from, which is at the same time heartbreaking and true in many cases. Overall, I think this is a fantastic book. The story is well-paced, Asiya is very witty, and the book addresses Islamophobia head on. Plus this book set up a robust young adult mystery series. At the end of this book, there is a pretty big cliffhanger with a major character! I will definitely be reading book number two because I need to know the resolution of the next mystery, and also because I have confidence this will be a good series. If you haven't already checked it out, take a look at God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems by Ishara Deen. Final Rating: 4.3/5

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sofia (Bookish Wanderess)

    *4,2 stars* A full, coherent review: Bookish Wanderess - For now, I can say that my favorite thing about this book was the main character Asiya, she is funny (like really, really funny!), she is smart, she is nice, she cares about other people and she can be a bit naive. My second favorite thing about this book was the humour, this is one of the funniest books I have read and I think it comes from being so honest and outspoken about things that are not that often talked about in YA. - The writtin *4,2 stars* A full, coherent review: Bookish Wanderess - For now, I can say that my favorite thing about this book was the main character Asiya, she is funny (like really, really funny!), she is smart, she is nice, she cares about other people and she can be a bit naive. My second favorite thing about this book was the humour, this is one of the funniest books I have read and I think it comes from being so honest and outspoken about things that are not that often talked about in YA. - The writting in this book is incredible, the pace is even throughout the book, the characters feel real, Asiya has such a unique voice, the mystery is not predictable (I only figure out one thing and it wasn't the most important part of the mystery). - I think the conversations Asiya has with God are so funny and so relatable. She thinks about the most innapropiate things while she prays or talks to God and it happens to me too. And even when we are from different religions, that made me think "that's me!" a few times during this book. - The way this book talks about muslim problems makes them easier to see and to understand, to relate to in some small ways. - The scenes between Asiya and Michael are so cute, the whole 'I don't really know you yet, but you are nice and I like you' thing was written so well! I'm still not entirly convince about Michael, because of something that we find out close to the end of the book and that I feel wasn't completely adressed. But I'm willing to give him a chance, because he is extremely nice and caring when it comes with Asiya and the 'thing' happened before the book started. - I hope we get to see more of Asiya's best friend Abby in the next book, because she is amazing in the little we got to see her in this book. - I also want the relationship between Asiya and her parents to change a little bit (Just a little bit!), I know they love her and want the best for her, but it's fristrating to see how little they listen to her sometimes.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bina

    Read the full review on my blog: https://wocreads.wordpress.com/2017/0... In her debut novel, Ishara Deen introduces us to Asiya Haque, a Bengali-Canadian teen who tries juggling high-school, interning, crushes and family. Oh, and a murder mystery. God Smites opens with Asiya’s mother warning her daughter about boys, and Asiya’s internal monologue where she considers her religion and what she owes her mother is hilarious and sweet. Probably most people with Muslim, or even other religious, famil Read the full review on my blog: https://wocreads.wordpress.com/2017/0... In her debut novel, Ishara Deen introduces us to Asiya Haque, a Bengali-Canadian teen who tries juggling high-school, interning, crushes and family. Oh, and a murder mystery. God Smites opens with Asiya’s mother warning her daughter about boys, and Asiya’s internal monologue where she considers her religion and what she owes her mother is hilarious and sweet. Probably most people with Muslim, or even other religious, family will find these situations familiar ones. I also loved her loyal father and I have a cheeky but supportive younger brother myself. And Asiya’s best friend is such a great character who we’ll hopefully meet again, and I’m sure the gossiping aunties will return as well. It was so wonderful to read of close family ties and see complex, positive Muslim representation. Asiya is a fantastic and extremely likable protagonist, and I really appreciated the way she strove to be independent but in a way that spoke of respect and love for her family. What I love is how Deen manages to make this a cozy crime, a coming-of-age story with a hilarious protagonist and also a book of social commentary on Islamophobia. That’s not an easy feat. I can only hope book like this will reach a wider audience, there’s so much unpacking of stereotypes and fears to do. But most of all, I hope Muslim teens will find Asiya. So make sure to review, buy and request God Smites at your library! 4.5/5stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jim Dean

    This was a fun read and it's awesome to see a Muslim MC taking centre stage (as a non-Muslim I can't speak for the rep, but reviews I've seen from Muslim bloggers have praised it.) Asiya is a fabulous lead and I loved her relationship with her family, especially. I found the mystery a tiny bit predictable (although it was nice to solve one before the MC did for once!) but it was still engaging and held my attention. Looking forward to book 2! This was a fun read and it's awesome to see a Muslim MC taking centre stage (as a non-Muslim I can't speak for the rep, but reviews I've seen from Muslim bloggers have praised it.) Asiya is a fabulous lead and I loved her relationship with her family, especially. I found the mystery a tiny bit predictable (although it was nice to solve one before the MC did for once!) but it was still engaging and held my attention. Looking forward to book 2!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kim Aippersbach

    God Smites is a very, very funny book about a Muslim girl who just wants to lead a normal life. Oh, and solve a murder. And maybe have a conversation with the boy she has a crush on. Asiya's voice is so real, you can't help becoming best friends with her. Her inner and outer conflicts are achingly, hilariously believable. I loved the conversations she has with God, where she's genuinely trying to figure out the right thing to do, while justifying what she wants to do. I'm sure anyone who believes God Smites is a very, very funny book about a Muslim girl who just wants to lead a normal life. Oh, and solve a murder. And maybe have a conversation with the boy she has a crush on. Asiya's voice is so real, you can't help becoming best friends with her. Her inner and outer conflicts are achingly, hilariously believable. I loved the conversations she has with God, where she's genuinely trying to figure out the right thing to do, while justifying what she wants to do. I'm sure anyone who believes in God has the same kinds of conversations all the time. (I know I do!)(not that I've ever tried to justify breaking-and-entering, but, you know, same general idea!) I loved that faith was presented matter-of-factly as a part of life. Asiya believes in God and is striving to live her religion. She chafes against her parents' strictness, she questions whether Satan will really appear if she's alone with a boy, she strongly dislikes her Imam (she and her friends have a great nickname for him that becomes a running joke), but she doesn't question being Muslim. It's a part of her identity and she's happy with it. What was the last YA or children's book you read in which religion was a positive, normal part of characters' lives (what was the last book you read in which it was even mentioned??) So, kudos for cultural and religious representation (and #OwnVoices). And for having a brown girl on the cover with her whole face showing, looking confidently out at the reader (what was the last book you saw ...). But mostly kudos for being well-written, engaging, and highly entertaining. I loved all the characters, particularly Asiya's parents, who are well-rounded and play important roles in the plot, not just as obstacles. Great relationship dynamics within her family, with her friends, and even with the other adults. The murder mystery was fun—there were a few scenarios that tested my suspension of disbelief, but any story with a teen sleuth is going to be a tad unrealistic. There is room for a sequel, and I will be looking for it. I think Ishara Deen is going to be another Susan Juby or Eileen Cook—we've got some great humourous writers up here in Canada! (Also you should go read the Book Wars review of this book, because it's hilarious.) This review was cross-posted on my blog, Dead Houseplants.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patti Sabik

    While volunteering at a nature conservatory and walking with her crush Michael, Asiya accidentally falls upon a dead body. Asiya becomes unwilling involved in seeking out clues and clearing names from the suspect list. The mystery storyline is tight and kept me turning pages until the end. I loved Asiya's voice - she is quite humorous and likeable. The other characters are equally enjoyable and the window to Asiya's Muslim world is sorely needed in teen literature today. My complaint (and why thi While volunteering at a nature conservatory and walking with her crush Michael, Asiya accidentally falls upon a dead body. Asiya becomes unwilling involved in seeking out clues and clearing names from the suspect list. The mystery storyline is tight and kept me turning pages until the end. I loved Asiya's voice - she is quite humorous and likeable. The other characters are equally enjoyable and the window to Asiya's Muslim world is sorely needed in teen literature today. My complaint (and why this book did not receive 4 stars) was the crass language and unnecessary crude humor throughout the book. Here is a sample on page 15: "Whoa, I was walking beside a guy who'd probably had his penis in somebody. Some girl I didn't want to think about. Eww. Scratch her out. Even without her, it was pretty unbelievable. Michael was capable of feeling something so strongly that enough blood flowed to his penis to make it hard like... "What are you thinking about? "Wood. The woods. I really like the woods," I said...” This one made me laugh, so a bit here and there would have been fine. However, sex was pushed and punned throughout the book (even the murder weapon was a sex object) to the point where it felt like it was almost insulting to the reader. I'm not a prude, but it made me feel uncomfortable. It seemed as if the author had to push the envelope to demonstrate liberalism.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenayah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I rate this book five stars because it is suspenseful, had a lot of unexpected events, relatable, and humorous all in one. Asiya, the main character of the book, is a 17-year-old high schooler who was trying to discover the mystery of a dead woman while trying to help her crush, Michael. With Asiya’s strict, Muslim parents who don’t even want her associated with boys, Asiya struggles to find the freedom to help Michael, but she fails to realize that in helping Michael, trouble, and danger will c I rate this book five stars because it is suspenseful, had a lot of unexpected events, relatable, and humorous all in one. Asiya, the main character of the book, is a 17-year-old high schooler who was trying to discover the mystery of a dead woman while trying to help her crush, Michael. With Asiya’s strict, Muslim parents who don’t even want her associated with boys, Asiya struggles to find the freedom to help Michael, but she fails to realize that in helping Michael, trouble, and danger will come to her and her family. Nevertheless, Asiya persevers through her challenges to help and protect those that she cares about. Something else that I love about this book is that there are so many surprises. Every corner you turn when reading has something that will make you gasp and want to keep reading. There are hooks spread all throughout the book. Lastly, with the book being interesting enough, it ends in a cliff hanger, one so big that the reader is almost guaranteed to get the next book to find out what will happen next. Michael, Asiya’s “friend”, asked her to go into Sue’s (a social worker with child care services) house to look find his file so that he can use it to find out who his real birth parents were. Asiya is stuck because she knows that the right thing to do, as someone who cares for Michael, is to do it, however, the right thing to do in terms of the law, is to refrain from taking said actions. She expresses this undecidedness when she says, “I mean there wasn’t anything to do, I just could not enter Sue’s apartment for Michael. No matter what it meant to him. My mind got that, but something else in me, something much stupider kept holding out on the idea that I not only would, but should ” (Deen 73). As shown through Asiya’s thoughts, she is conflicted about whether or not to assist Michael. This demonstrates that Asiya is having an internal conflict. As described, her mind is telling her that she should not enter Sue’s apartment, but I can infer that the “something else in her” is her heart and that her abundance of care towards Michael is drawing her to the desire to do this for him because she knows that it means a lot to him. The quote also provides one of the many challenges that Asiya is faced with throughout the book that make it so interesting and relatable. I can make a text to self-connection to having an internal conflict. Similar to Asiya, I am often faced with challenges in which I am not sure to go one way or another. For example, one time my friend stole a pencil from a teacher. The moment I found out, the thoughts that came across my mind were that it was wrong of them to do. If the teacher were to ask me if I knew who took it, I would be faced with the conflict of, do I tell the teacher the truth because it is the right thing to do for her? Or do I lie and protect my friend because as a friend that would be seen as the right thing to do for them? This is like when Asiya had to make the decision of whether or not she should help Michael (which is described in the paragraphs above). In conclusion, this book is amazing and I would recommend it to teens and people who love a good mystery. The book will hook you in and keep you there and trust me, its worth the read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tas

    Thanks to Ishara Deen for a copy in exchange of an honest review. Geez, I’m still trying to stop laughing. The story was intense with a really good humor. It’s “Like Nancy Drew, but not…” because Asiya goes sleuthing but she has very, very strict parents and God’s on her mother’s side most of the time. The book is about Asiya, a Bangladeshi-Canadian Muslim teenager who accidentally trips on a dead-body and gets involved in the homicide investigation. Problem is, she was with a boy and if she tells Thanks to Ishara Deen for a copy in exchange of an honest review. Geez, I’m still trying to stop laughing. The story was intense with a really good humor. It’s “Like Nancy Drew, but not…” because Asiya goes sleuthing but she has very, very strict parents and God’s on her mother’s side most of the time. The book is about Asiya, a Bangladeshi-Canadian Muslim teenager who accidentally trips on a dead-body and gets involved in the homicide investigation. Problem is, she was with a boy and if she tells the truth, she will be in trouble because of her strict parents. I have some mixed feelings about this. I was so excited for her being both Bengali and Muslim. A few pages in, I couldn’t relate to anything, which made me a little sad after so many high expectations, but damn, I LOVED THE BENGALI JOKES in there. One thing that was strange was how Asiya would call things her parents would do as ‘the thing about Bengali mothers’ or ‘about Muslims’, when it’s actually different for everyone. Asiya’s character was amazing. She starts off as someone very carefully breaking a small rule of her parents, then by the end, turns into this brave strong girl who’s willing to do anything to fix the investigation. I loved how she evolved into this powerful woman, all the while being so dumb about everything brave she does. I understand it was supposed to be ‘God Smite’ but at parts she started sounding too dumb, and other times, I LMFAO-ed so hard I alerted everyone around me that something was very wrong with me. It was great to see the side characters developing as well. Her mother was such a strict ‘domesticated’ (in Asiya’s word) woman who turned goondi (at least she’ll be called that in a conservative Bengali community), in English, a badass by the end, and I was yelling HOW DO YOU STILL NOT SEE WHY ASIYA CAN BE SAFE WHEN YOU KNOW GOD’S WATCHING OVER HER? The book was so well crafted, the mystery made it a page turner, the humor kept everything so stress-free and the plot twist was… mindblowing? I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. I’d recommend it if you’re a Nancy Drew fan, looking for some fun but intense read, or just need some fast read (I finished it in two hours). Just remember, you’ll be left wanting more, and thankfully, there will be a second book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Madeline Bourgeous

    God Smites and Other Musli Girl Problems is about a girl named Asiya who comes from a very strict Muslim family. One day while on a walk with a boy she likes named Michale. They run across a dead body which leads to Michale sending Asiya away and him becoming a wanted murder. The story goes through an intense, action-filled, mystery where Asiya is faced with trying to help Michale and figure out the murder mystery or be a good girl and obey her parents. God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems i God Smites and Other Musli Girl Problems is about a girl named Asiya who comes from a very strict Muslim family. One day while on a walk with a boy she likes named Michale. They run across a dead body which leads to Michale sending Asiya away and him becoming a wanted murder. The story goes through an intense, action-filled, mystery where Asiya is faced with trying to help Michale and figure out the murder mystery or be a good girl and obey her parents. God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems is a very interesting book, nothing like I expected it to be. I thought the perspective was unique and that the Muslim faith and beliefs were implemented so much in the story because that is something I don't usually see. The book is very fast-paced with new clues and mystery on every page. I gave this book three stars because I wasn't necessarily as hooked on this book and there were a couple of parts that I just wasn't a fan of. There were some things that I did not expect to be in this book and so I suggest that parents may be read what the content warnings are before letting a younger teenager read it. Content Warnings: Death: Asiyah trips over and finds the body of a dead woman, Jamie is shot and killed Violence: A woman kills another woman, a man is hit on the head, a girl is kidnapped, people get shot at with guns, a girl is hit by a car, people go to jail, mentions a boy getting beat up, robberies and break-ins, a boy runs away Gore: mentions of blood and a broken foot Language: uses of the words: s***, a**, b***s***, d**n, g**d***, d**k Substance abuse: mentions a guy being drunk from beer Sexual content: talks about men's penis, mentions porn, girl looking up pictures of d**k, mentions sex multiple times in different contexts, and there is kissing and making out.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sinead Anja (Huntress of Diverse Books)

    Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts! I received a copy of God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems from the author. I adored Nancy Drew as a child, and when I was given the chance to read a murder mystery novel, I couldn’t say no! This book is #ownvoices for Muslim and Bengali representation. __ While reading the first chapter, I thought that this was a Middle Grade novel for some reason. However, it quickly became clear that this was indeed a YA novel. I really enjo Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts! I received a copy of God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems from the author. I adored Nancy Drew as a child, and when I was given the chance to read a murder mystery novel, I couldn’t say no! This book is #ownvoices for Muslim and Bengali representation. __ While reading the first chapter, I thought that this was a Middle Grade novel for some reason. However, it quickly became clear that this was indeed a YA novel. I really enjoyed reading about someone who volunteers at an environmental organisation. I used to do that, and it’s such a nice way to be in nature. I laughed out loud when Asiya wanted whether she’d be fired from her volunteering job. I loved the X-Men references. They really made me want to watch the movies or read the comics again. The relationship is very slow in building up, and both partners respect each other and their boundaries. This was beautiful to read, and I really loved how he didn’t pressure her to do something she wasn’t ready to do. One thing that makes this book stand out in comparison to others, is that her family is actively involved in her life. They are always mixing in and interacting with her. It was nice to see this for a change. This book combines contemporary romance with mystery, and discusses cultural differences, Islamantagonism, and sexism. I really liked how it all came together. There were some ableist slurs. __ I enjoyed reading God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems, and eagerly await the sequel. I’m really excited to see what the next mystery will be!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laina SpareTime

    Cross-posted from my blog where there's more information on where I got my copy and links and everything. I liked this a lot. This is somewhat younger in tone for YA. There’s some talk of sex and stuff, and it’s done in a… somewhat immature way? Not immature in a bad way, just in a way I think accurately reflects how a younger teen may feel. I had a few complaints like some borderline fatmisia and a use of “opposite sex”, but overall this one is mostly just cute and fun. It’s set in a suburb of T Cross-posted from my blog where there's more information on where I got my copy and links and everything. I liked this a lot. This is somewhat younger in tone for YA. There’s some talk of sex and stuff, and it’s done in a… somewhat immature way? Not immature in a bad way, just in a way I think accurately reflects how a younger teen may feel. I had a few complaints like some borderline fatmisia and a use of “opposite sex”, but overall this one is mostly just cute and fun. It’s set in a suburb of Toronto, which was really cool, and I really liked Asiya’s relationship with her family and her faith. They’re both very important to her, and it shows. And I thought it was a nice touch to show that she actually prays quite a bit. Not every YA character who’s religious has to do so, but having her talk to God as much as she did, often even quite casually, was quite an interesting addition to her portrayal. There’s also a twist in this with the mystery that I did not even remotely see coming, and I really hope there’s more books in this series, because I’d read more. I recommend this one, and I especially think readers who are transitioning from MG to YA would like it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vijayalakshmi

    Let me just start by saying that this is one of the most entertaining books I’ve read recently! It’s humourous and full of twists that keep the pages turning. It is well plotted and perfectly paced. I love that the author has used Bangla and Hindi words. They don’t get in the way of the narrative, but they add a layer of familiarity that makes the reading experience that much more delightful. It not only tackles Islamophobia head on, but also explores the dilemma of reconciling one’s religious b Let me just start by saying that this is one of the most entertaining books I’ve read recently! It’s humourous and full of twists that keep the pages turning. It is well plotted and perfectly paced. I love that the author has used Bangla and Hindi words. They don’t get in the way of the narrative, but they add a layer of familiarity that makes the reading experience that much more delightful. It not only tackles Islamophobia head on, but also explores the dilemma of reconciling one’s religious beliefs and practices with the demands of a social milieu in which they are misunderstood and mocked. The author must also be applauded for the way she has written the characters. It would have been too easy for them to become stereotypical, but she imbues them with life and personality. There is no cliffhanger ending, but there is enough left unresolved to make the reader wait eagerly for the next book in the series. Three cheers for Asiya Haque, and may she have many many more adventures! Read more: https://thereadingdesk.wordpress.com/...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Heather Munao

    This book really was cute and very funny. The best part, hands down, was the snarky voice of Asiya. Like, on page 2, she talks about Muslim reverence for mothers because they squeeze melons out of a bagel cervix, but her own mother is complicated because “me + boy = invitation for Satan.” Another part that made me cackle is her best friend saying “You’re right, my first thought should have been ‘Asiya wants to talk fiddlesticks because she’s mentally piecing together an ancient wooden erection.’ This book really was cute and very funny. The best part, hands down, was the snarky voice of Asiya. Like, on page 2, she talks about Muslim reverence for mothers because they squeeze melons out of a bagel cervix, but her own mother is complicated because “me + boy = invitation for Satan.” Another part that made me cackle is her best friend saying “You’re right, my first thought should have been ‘Asiya wants to talk fiddlesticks because she’s mentally piecing together an ancient wooden erection.’” The mystery plot was a light beachy read. I also loved Asiya’s father who represents such a voice of reason and a really gentle view of faith, like when he says they have to help a troubled boy they dislike because “When no one takes accountability, the whole community becomes accountable in front of Allah.” The only thing I would say is that I have to proceed with caution in recommending this book to students from traditional Muslim or South Asian families because Asiya is Americanized and sarcastic to the point of risqué. Some will be horrified by that, but others will identify with her fluctuation between respect for and exasperation with /questioning her background.

  23. 5 out of 5

    M

    I picked up this book on a whim when I saw it being recommended on my Twitter feed. And I am so happy I did. I have never read a Nancy Drew, so I can’t compare, but what I can say is that this is a YA mystery with a romance subplot that manages to be light-hearted and deeply touching all at the same time. From Asiya trying to hide how she is breaking one of her Muslim parents’ cardinal rule, to the hard life Michael has led that keeps him up on the suspect list of the police after a body is foun I picked up this book on a whim when I saw it being recommended on my Twitter feed. And I am so happy I did. I have never read a Nancy Drew, so I can’t compare, but what I can say is that this is a YA mystery with a romance subplot that manages to be light-hearted and deeply touching all at the same time. From Asiya trying to hide how she is breaking one of her Muslim parents’ cardinal rule, to the hard life Michael has led that keeps him up on the suspect list of the police after a body is found in the woods, this book is full of experiences I have yet to see a lot of in trad YA. The mystery was cleverly twisted and structured around the familial conflicts, bigoted members of the community they all live in, and the coming-of-age struggles of Asiya. There is so much potential in the possible romantic story arc in addition to so much more potential still to be discovered in the way the Haque family works, in the way Asiya is still trying to find herself  - and maybe stumble over more crimes in the future. I really enjoyed this book and it felt like the perfect start to a new series I desperately want to follow along as it progresses.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    So adorable. I'm breaking a rule because this one ends on a cliffie and is clearly meant to be lead right into the next book. Normally, I hate that because I feel like it's a cheap shot. This book, though, was so refreshing that I decided it's still worth four stars even though I didn't know that it was going to have that sort of ending. The characters are fresh and fun and you can absolutely relate to Asiya. Worth checking out. So adorable. I'm breaking a rule because this one ends on a cliffie and is clearly meant to be lead right into the next book. Normally, I hate that because I feel like it's a cheap shot. This book, though, was so refreshing that I decided it's still worth four stars even though I didn't know that it was going to have that sort of ending. The characters are fresh and fun and you can absolutely relate to Asiya. Worth checking out.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Simple but good, and a lovely read! I finished it in a couple of hours while eating dinner. The synopsis described it as “Nancy Drew, but not” - and I’d say it very much reminded me of those nights I’d smuggle a flashlight under the covers to finish the latest Nancy Drew book I’d checked out of the library. My only complaint is the last few pages teases a second book, which appears not to have been published yet! Dear publisher, I will totally stay up after lights out for a sequel...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bonniemilam

    The parental relationship with Asyia seems subversive. Instead of talking with her mom and dad together and working on the entire relationship, Asyia is one way with her mom in order to appease her and then pits her mom's conversations against her dad, etc. The parental relationship with Asyia seems subversive. Instead of talking with her mom and dad together and working on the entire relationship, Asyia is one way with her mom in order to appease her and then pits her mom's conversations against her dad, etc.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Thoroughly enjoyable though I am annoyed it is a series and I didn’t get the closure I wanted. I cannot imagine living with such oppressive religious rules (this is not limited to Islam by any means) and desperately wanted Asiyah to break free.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn Orozco

    My summer novels class loved this book and related to the protagonist right away.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    loved it, one of the best YA-books ever!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ishara

    I know I’m biased, but I think the issues are important, and the characters make me laugh =D

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