readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rgz Salon: Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. by Medeia Sharif, Reviewed by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Rgz SALON member Lyn Miller-Lachmann has been the Editor-in-Chief of MultiCultural Review; the author of the award-winning multicultural bibliography Our Family, Our Friends, Our World; the editor of Once Upon a Cuento, a collection of short stories by Latino authors; and most recently, the author of Gringolandia, a young adult novel about a refugee family living with the aftermath of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. The book has had multiple print runs and is available for order. (Don't forget to read the fascinating Cover Story for Gringolandia.)

We're honored to have Lyn here as part of the rgz SALON, a feature where top kidlit experts clue us in to the best YA novels they've read recently. Today, she reviews Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. by Medeia Sharif (Flux):

"Now that she’s turning 16, Almira Abdul has pledged to observe the Muslim holy period of Ramadan—not a crumb of food or drop of water to pass through her lips from sunup to sundown for an entire month. She still remembers her humiliation the year before, when her very conservative grandfather noticed the cookie crumbs on her lips and berated her repeatedly in front of her entire family. This year, a number of other factors add to Almira’s stress level—her grandfather’s bullying of his daughter-in-law—her mother, to whom she is close—over how Almira is being raised, driving lessons from her grandfather, her attraction to a boy who her best friend also likes, and the arrival of another, far more beautiful Muslim girl who proves that looks and personality often do not go together. Over the course of the month, Almira discovers that her display of willpower is helping her lose unwanted pounds, but even that victory leads to unexpected complications for both romance and friendship.

"The author, of Kurdish and Muslim heritage, offers a portrayal that is both realistic and humorous. The experience of being caught between family rules and pressures on the one hand and the drama of peers on the other is one to which readers of all cultural backgrounds can relate. Sharif portrays a family that has become more assimilated with each generation and the difficulties of keeping everyone together and happy in such a situation. For the most part, the author gives Almira an authentic teenage voice, and she appears throughout the book as an enormously likable character who will keep readers cheering for her no matter what predicament she faces—or creates." -Lyn Miller-Lachmann


Anonymous said...

Lyn, I thoroughly enjoy your reviews and am so glad to see you here at readergirlz. Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. is quite enjoyable for just the reasons you've mentioned.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the thoughtful review. Adding to my library holds queue now!

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