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This was surprisingly wonderful and personally relatable. I was a teenager too during the 9/11 incident and reading the book reminded me a lot of my own experiences as a teenager. The expensive text message, the magic of instant messaging. I didn’t even have my own computer till I was in college and didn’t have our own DSL connection till I graduated from college. Lol. I paid 20 PHP every hour of internet access at computer cafes for my researches.
But back to the book. Largely, it’s a romance novel but the obstacles to Shirin and Ocean’s love are so overwhelming including racism, political and religious beliefs because of their vast differences and because of the recent tragedy and the aftermaths of the 9/11 that it seems impossible that the couple could overcome them.
Told in the POV of Shirin, it’s really heartbreaking the things she endures just because of her race and of her choice to wear a hijab especially right after the tragic incident, how people easily make assumptions about her character and how she lives because of how she looks and what she wears.
Everything about her experience appeals to the emotions because of her genuine voice. The story even gives me a glimpse of the rich Persian culture (their food sounds yum) and a few Muslim beliefs that I must say honestly deserves respect. But even though the story generally should be shrouded by a heavy undertone, the author still managed to make it light, even fun (the breakdancing part is super cool), and really enjoyable and the romance is ultimately shippable. I may have fallen just a little bit in love with Ocean. Lol.