A thought provoking contemporary YA that is diverse, current, and relevant. It makes me think of the brilliance of young minds because Maya, an Indian-Muslim-American young woman is always in an inner turmoil over her desires versus the desires of her parents. Hers is not a simple act of teenage rebellion but an intellectual battle over the merits and demerits of both of her cultures.
But more than her hunger for self fulfillment is her realization of her fragile and dangerous place in a country where she is constantly judged, labeled and bullied just by the way she looks despite being born in said country. The story shows how Maya, an innocent young woman who only wants to live her personal dreams can’t be safe from the byproducts of bigotry and Islamophobia.
But despite the heaviness of the themes, the story is still generally a light read. There’s interesting romance and Maya’s passion for film making always makes its way in her narration allowing the reader to see the events in her life through her lens as a future filmmaker so it’s quite entertaining. The ending is also light, hopeful, and very encouraging.