Zara Hossain is Here
** A timely and honest coming-of-age story that explores the complicated relationship between identity, culture, family, and love.
Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Texas since her family moved there for her father's work. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family's dependent visa status while they await their green card approval.
But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended.
As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara's house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara's entire future at risk.
Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she's ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.
As the only Muslim student at her Corpus Christi, Tex., high school, Zara Hossain, 17, faces microaggressions every day but cannot allow herself to show her frustration. She and her family are Pakistani immigrants and have been waiting almost nine years for the end of the torturously long approval process for American green cards; any justice she seeks would threaten that goal. When Tyler Benson the local white "golden boy" and a leading instigator of Islamophobia among her classmates vandalizes her locker with racist graffiti, Zara rightfully pursues his suspension. But Zara's decision to speak out about the racism she experiences has staggering consequences: not only for her own family, but also throughout their close-knit, white community. Zara's affectionate relationship with her parents results in a refreshingly non-stereotypical reception to her bisexuality, and a same-sex romance with a "queer Catholic" girl enables a deeper exploration of the intersection between white privilege and religion. The prose at times lacks adequate description, inhibiting readers' full immersion into the narrative, but Khan (The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali) creates a gripping story line centering the conflict between prejudice and tolerance. Ages 14 up.)