Oct 30, 2011

bestest. ramadan. ever.

Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. | Medeia Sharif
No pizza. No boyfriend. (No life.)
Okay, so during Ramadan, we're not allowed to eat from sunrise to sunset. For one whole month. My family does this every year, even though I've been to a mosque exactly twice in my life. And it's true, I could stand to lose a few pounds. (Sadly, my mom's hotness skipped a generation.) But is starvation really an acceptable method? I think not.
Even worse, my oppressive parents forbid me to date. This is just cruel and wrong. Especially since Peter, a cute and crushable artist, might be my soul mate. Figures my bestest friend Lisa likes him, too. To top it off, there's a new Muslim girl in school who struts around in super-short skirts, commanding every boy's attention-including Peter's. How can I get him to notice me? And will I ever figure out how to be Muslim and American?
I’ve been on the lookout. I’ve been on the lookout for books with Muslim protagonists, and I haven’t been able to find that many. (But maybe I’m looking in all the wrong places? I don’t know.) But one day, I stumbled across a blog, and it was the blog of a writer named Medeia Sharif. After a little clicking around, I found out that she had a book coming out titled BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. and you can guess the rest. I was thrilled to have found something with a Muslim protag. And the fact that there was a little romance mixed in was icing on the cake. I absolutely positively had to buy this book!

In BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER., 15-year-old Almira can’t seem to ever get through one Ramadan without cheating. The temptation of Oreo cookies is just too. freaking. much. But not this year. This year, Almira’s controlling family has put an insane amount of pressure on Almira to make it through the fast. This year, Almira is dedicated and devoted. This year is going to be the bestest. Ramadan. ever. Or, at least, that’s what Almira says. Making her family proud is hard when all she wants to do is kiss all over that cute new guy at school and party with her friends…

This book is hilarious. I mean, not the book, but Almira. She’s witty and snarky and she has all this commentary on nearly everything in her head. What I really, really loved was that Almira was written as a normal teenage girl with the same interests, etc., and that her being Muslim was just one of her many qualities—like me and my uber gayness, Suzie Q. and her blue-eyedness, etc.

I also really liked how Almira’s family was written. Her grandpa was very traditional (y’know, likes to follow the rules, condemns pop culture) and judgmental. I, like Almira, have family members like that. Also, I loved how Sharif mentioned some of the Muslim stereotypes, and how Almira’s grandpa would judge other Muslims more than he did people of other religions, race, etc.

Basically, I just really liked this book. It’s funny, it’s enjoyable, and it somehow manages to be both lighthearted and deep.


Bee said...

Wow. You really put across the vibe of the book in this review. It's been on my wishlist for a while now. If only my tbr pile wasn't so..um, tall.

Melina said...

I can see why she would have trouble. It would be hard to fast and not kiss cute boys. I am glad she wants to impress her family and make them proud though.

LoriStrongin said...

Ditto that I'm super excited to see a new protagonist on the YA scene! Especially now--Islam is getting a bad wrap on a worldwide scale, so I'm thrilled to see some positive Muslim protagonists to prove the haters wrong.

Thanks for highlighting this book!


Cialina at Muggle-Born.net said...

Fantastic review. I haven't heard about this one and it sounds like such a fun book. It reminds me a bit of How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life... minus the plagiarism part.

You make me want to read more books featuring minorities. I need to broaden my reading list.