Book Review: You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen – Black Muslim Teens Find Their Voice and Power in this Empowering and Hopeful Contemporary

You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen. Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond.
Synopsis:

Sabriya has her whole summer planned out in color-coded glory, but those plans go out the window after a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort. You Truly Assumed was never meant to be anything more than an outlet, but the blog goes viral as fellow Muslim teens around the country flock to it and find solace and a sense of community.

Soon two more teens, Zakat and Farah, join Bri to run You Truly Assumed and the three quickly form a strong friendship. But as the blog’s popularity grows, so do the pushback and hateful comments. When one of them is threatened, the search to find out who is behind it all begins, and their friendship is put to the test when all three must decide whether to shut down the blog and lose what they’ve worked for…or take a stand and risk everything to make their voices heard.

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When I finished reading You Truly Assumed, I thought to myself: this is it; this is the book that is going to take the world by storm come 2022. And if you have been waiting for a story that explores the experiences of being Black, Muslim and teenage girls, that illuminates how the intersections of those identities can hold so much strength, difference and hope, then your wait ends with You Truly Assumed. This book is brilliance and power in book form, and I am so excited for everyone to read it come February 2022.  

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Book Review: It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi – An Exes-to-Enemies Rom-Com about Flawed Desi Teens, Messy Relationships, and Protecting Those You Love

It All Comes Back to you by
Synopsis:

After Kiran Noorani’s mom died, Kiran vowed to keep her dad and sister, Amira, close. Then out of the blue, Amira announces that she’s dating someone and might move cross-country with him. Kiran is thrown.

Deen Malik is thrilled that his older brother, Faisal, has found a great girlfriend, even if it’s getting serious quickly. Maybe now their parents’ focus will shift off Deen, who feels intense pressure to be the perfect son.

When Deen and Kiran come fact to face, they silently agree to keep their past a secret. Four years ago–before Amira and Faisal met–Kiran and Deen dated. But Deen ghosted Kiran with no explanation. Kiran will stop at nothing to find out what happened, and Deen will do anything, even if it means sabotaging his brother’s relationship, to keep her from reaching the truth. Though the chemistry between Kiran and Deen is undeniable, can either of them take down their walls?

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It All Comes Back to You is nothing like what I expected – and I’m glad for it. For what I thought was a fluffy and sweet romance, It All Comes Back to You is, what I’d more accurately describe, a romantic comedy with drama and coming-of-age elements centering two very flawed desi Muslim teens. It is messy at times, and delightfully so, making It All Comes Back to You such a memorable story and a wonderful addition to young adult fiction. 

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Our Friend is Here! A Discussion with Adiba Jaigirdar, Author of Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating – On Why We Need Nuanced Parents in Queer YA

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Pride Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of June, queer authors are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer author! Find the introduction post for Pride Month here.

‘Family’ is a theme that I will always love to read about in young adult fiction. Family, whether by blood or found, is incredibly important to us and the way that we form, shape, and navigate who we are as people in the world, and I feel like there’s no better age category for such explorations than young adult fiction. However, when I think about ‘queer experiences’ and ‘family’, the crossroads here can be fraught – and it can be doubly fraught for queer people of colour.

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[Blog Tour] Five Reasons To Read: FORESHADOW, edited by Emily X.R. Pan & Nova Ren Suma – The Best YA Anthology of This Age

Summary:

Created by New York Times bestselling authors Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma, Foreshadow is so much more than a short story collection. A trove of unforgettable fiction makes up the beating heart of this book, and the accompanying essays offer an ode to young adult literature, as well as practical advice to writers.

Featured in print for the first time, the thirteen stories anthologized here were originally released via the buzzed-about online platform Foreshadow. Ranging from contemporary romance to mind-bending fantasy, the Foreshadow stories showcase underrepresented voices and highlight the beauty and power of YA fiction. Each piece is selected and introduced by a YA luminary, among them Gayle Forman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jason Reynolds, and Sabaa Tahir.

What makes these memorable stories tick? What sparked them? How do authors build a world or refine a voice or weave in that deliciously creepy atmosphere to bring their writing to the next level? Addressing these questions and many more are essays and discussions on craft and process by Nova Ren Suma and Emily X. R. Pan.

This unique compilation reveals and celebrates the magic of reading and writing for young adults.

Skye’s review:

FORESHADOW, when it was first announced, was a limited-run publishing project spearheaded by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma. It featured short YA stories across a variety of genres, with monthly issues releasing throughout the entire year of 2019. Each issue had three stories—titled after a single phrase, “foreshadowing” the story that was to come—one of which would also be penned by a new writer, voices hand-selected by renowned authors such as Sabaa Tahir and Nicola Yoon.

Today, the thirteen handpicked stories are published in a wonderful anthology that I have the privilege of introducing here on the blog today after reading an early copy. And friends, friends, please trust me when I say this, and know that I do not mean it lightly: this anthology is everything I crave in a book, and it contains the best short YA fiction I have ever read in my entire life.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Hena Khan, Author of Amina’s Voice & More to the Story; On Writing Young Muslim Characters and… A Sequel in the Works!

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition. Author interview with Hena Khan. Author of Amina's Voice and More to the Story; on writing young muslim characters... and a sequel in the works! illustration of xiaolong the axolotl, her arms spread out wide as if she is showing off something, with hena as a blue penguin holding a book, wearing glasses, and waving at you!

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

Back in 2017 when I was only just discovering the beauty of diverse young adult literature, I never knew that there was an age category called ‘middle grade’. Though I had read middle grade as a younger reader, it never crossed my mind that I would enjoy middle grade as an adult — that is, until I read Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan, which was the book that ignited my love for diverse literature for younger readers.

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