Written by Reem Faruqi, Illustrated by Soumbal Qureshi

This a book about an immigrant family moving from Pakistan to the US. It is written in verse and told from the perspective of Nurah, a thirteen year old girl, who is trying to find a way to fit in and spread her wings in a totally new place. Her father finds work in the States and decides to move the family for job security and better schooling. She does not want to leave her grandparents, friends, or the life she has there. Although she does already speak English, she feels like she stands out because of the way she dresses and the color of her skin. She joins the swim team at school, where she desperately wants to prove herself, but is always in the shadow of her athletic brother, Owais. Adjusting to life in the US is challenging for each member of her family in different ways. Will Nurah eventually find a way to bloom in new soil?

It is a very poetic and beautifully written novel. It is written with beautiful and vivid language. You will not only love the nature imagery but also the way she describes skin colors. I’m amazed at how well the author was able to communicate with such few words. It is a story inspired by many of the author’s real life experiences immigrating to the US, and the feelings ring true and honest. I loved reading and watching Nurah grow, enduring challenges and disappointments, but continuing to develop into her own unique person. The illustrations inside the book are absolutely beautiful as well.

This story deals with struggles including bullying, the pain of being separated from home and the people we have been with all our life, culture shock, identity, culture and gender discrimination, her mother’s miscarriage, and a friend’s abusive father.

Reviewed by Kylie Robbins, Media Clerk, Pioneer Elementary
Review shared in January 2022
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 5-8

Author Website: reemfaruqi.com

Written by Reem Faruqi, Illustrated by Soumbal Qureshi
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
322 pages
Release Date: May 11, 2021
ISBN: 9780063044708
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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