Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan

 Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan, Scholastic Press, 9781338580877, 2021

Format:  ARC

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre:   Realistic

What did you like about the book? Zara is a bisexual high schooler growing up in Texas; she and her parents are Pakistani immigrants who have been waiting eight years for their green cards, and the family’s unresolved immigration status creates tension and anxiety for the family. Zara falls for a new girl, Chloe, who attends her social justice club, and navigates a changing friendship with Nick, her dearest friend since childhood. Zara faces Islamophobic prejudice from a bully at school and inaction from her principal, and when Zara’s father attempts to confront the bully’s family, tragedy strikes. Sabina Khan does a wonderful job describing the close-knit social network, complex familial and religious relationships, and delicious meals enjoyed by the characters, and Chloe and Zara’s relationship is realistically depicted and sweet. Many of the problems in the book – immigration woes, parents/relatives who are less accepting of the queer characters – are not given artificially happy endings, making the story more authentic and relatable for many readers.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The book’s goal is to educate the reader about many important issues – immigration law, white privilege, Islamophobia – but long speeches about each issue can be more tell than show and take the reader out of the narrative. 

To whom would you recommend this book?  Middle and high schoolers who want to read about LGBTQ relationships, students interested in immigration and social activism, fans of Becky Albertalli or of Khan’s previous book, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali.

Who should buy this book? Middle schools, high schools, public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Fiction -realistic, LGBTQ

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Rachel Chiel Katz, Schechter Boston, Newton, MA

Date of review: 2/26/2021

This entry was posted in *Book Review, Bullying, Immigration, LGBTQIA+, Prejudice, Realistic fiction, Sabina Khan. Bookmark the permalink.