I have a ton of mini-reviews in my drafts it’s not even funny. I’ve been dragging my feet when it comes to editing them and am hoping this doesn’t mean a blogging slump is on its way. A reading slump and blogging slump happening at the same time is my worst nightmare. I actually read these two books quite a bit apart, but they ended up paired because it made sense for two other mini-reviews to be coupled together. I know this probably doesn’t make any sense to you, but just trust me, it makes perfect sense in my head.
Title: Hana Khan Carries On Author: Uzma Jalaluddin Series: N/A Pages: 348 Publisher: Berkley Release Date: April 13th 2021
TW: Islamophobia, racism, hate crimes
Uzma Jalaluddin’s Hana Khan Carries On is an adorable slow-burn romance for fans of the rivals to lovers trope. Hana splits her time between working at her family’s restaurant, her internship at a local radio station, and secretly hosting the anonymous podcast, Ana’s Brown Girl Rambles. Her podcast has become one of the few places where she is able to speak her mind. She’s found a small, but loyal audience including StanleyP. One of her first listeners, StanleyP has become one of her closest confidants. The only problem is Hana has never met him as they’ve been solely communicating through a text app. Their friendship has been one of the bright spots in her life and promises to become something more if Hana ever finds the courage to reveal who she really is. Her life takes an unexpected turn when newcomer Aydin Shah and his father intend to open a rival halal restaurant across from her family’s. Hana and Aydin immediately butt heads. Hana is immediately put off by Aydin’s arrogant and often condescending attitude. The fact that he is trying to take down her mother’s restaurant doesn’t exactly endear him to her either. Their relationship is filled with tension, but what started off as hatred soon turns into something like attraction. Dealing with microaggressions at work, Hana is trying to forge a path for herself in radio, but her boss seems bent on pigeonholing her by trying to make her the face of diversity. Hana’s true passion is storytelling, but she wants the freedom to tell stories from her Muslim and South Asian community without the burden of teaching outsiders a lesson. With a focus on family, Hana Khan Carries On is a heartfelt novel full of the ups and downs of family life and learning to embrace what you truly want out of life.
★ ★ ★ ★
Title: Chlorine Sky Author: Mahogany L. Browne Series: N/A Pages: 192 Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers Release Date: January 12th 2021
TW: racism, drug abuse, alcoholism, bullying, sexual assault
Mahogany L. Browne’s Chlorine Sky is a compelling novel-in-verse chronically the loss of a friendship, but also the empowerment of its young MC. Sky has always been in her friend Lay Li’s shadow. Everyone is drawn to Lay Li. Like the sun, she is beautiful and bright. She is full of life and it often feels like the world revolves around her. As they’ve gotten older, Sky begins to realize that being so close in proximity to the sun can also be blinding and scorching. As Lay Li and Sky grow apart, Sky begins to reminisce about their relationship. Their first meeting felt like the first time Sky found someone who could understand her, who would stand by her. But as their friendship progressed, cracks began to form that she might not have seen when they first happened. Sky might have been Lay Li’s right hand man, but Lay Li has never been hers. Lay Li didn’t stand up for Sky when the boys Lay Li was interested in started making unkind and racist remarks toward her. She laughed it off as though it were a joke and Sky eventually begins to realize that although losing her best friend been one of the most heartbreaking things for her, their friendship was rather one-sided. Chlorine Sky also explores contentious sisterly relationships and first love. Mahogany L. Browne’s debut novel-in-verse is about finding yourself in a world that refuses to really see you, about embracing who you are and not making yourself smaller to accommodate how others view you.
★ ★ ★ ★