Book Review: Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan

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Zara Hossain wants what most teenagers do; to finish up high school, have fun with her friends along the way and attend a good college after she graduates. Looming around Zara and her otherwise typical high school experience, however, is a cloud of Islamaphobia that seems to be only getting worse in her hometown of Corpus Cristi, Texas. Having immigrated to the United States when she was an infant, American life is all that Zara has ever known. To some, though – namely one particularly bigotted bully named Tyler – Zara’s mere existence is a threat. One night Tyler takes his harassment way too far, threatening everything Zara’s family has waited and worked for, including their American citizenship. Zara maintains that she is here to stay. But how does one person fight back against centuries of xenophobia? And how can you make a safe place for yourself in a country that doesn’t want you?

“It’s so easy to paint all the people you don’t want to accept with the same brush. That way you can tell yourself you’re just protecting your way of life and that they’re the ones encroaching upon your space.

– Zara Hossain, Zara Hossain is Here

🥪🥪🥪 (three stars as rated in home-packed lunches exchanged between two best friends)

What Zara Hossain is Here illustrates better than most books I’ve read is just how needlessly convoluted and ridiculously backwards our immigration system is and how it isn’t actually benefiting us to do things the way we currently are. The hoops Zara’s family must jump through to obtain their green cards only to have the whole thing fall apart because of one racist family’s reprehensible actions is beyond upsetting. I recommend this book first and foremost for this small glimpse into the immigrant experience. Zara’s relationships with her friends and girlfriend, however, are just a beautiful icing to an already well constructed cake. I appreciated that Zara was never a pushover about what she was dealing with. Zara’s sense of self-worth and justice were very maturely written and as character she is beautifully written, well rounded and likeable.

“Most people wont take the time to educate themselves about issues that affect us all. it’s easy to think that a lot of it is happening so far away that we don’t need to bother.

– Zara Hossain, Zara Hossain is Here
Audiobook rating for Zara Hossain is Here:

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book at a glance

🏳️‍🌈 Bisexual MC
🧭 Immigrant Experience
⏱️ Fast Paced
📖 YA Fiction

✨ Rep in this book: Bisexual MC, Pakistani-American MC, Mexican-American supporting character, Indian-American supporting character

✨ Content warnings for this book: xenophobia, bullying, biphobia, transphobia, vomit, racism, gun violence, medical trauma, doxing, bomb threats

Recommended for fans of:

Love Is A Revolution by Renee Watson

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

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Image Description: A flat lay featuring the audiobook version of Zara Hossain is here as seen on the screen of an iPhone. The phone rests on a stack of notebooks of various colors. They all rest on a grey acid washed denim backpack before a white background. There are writing utensils strewn about to the top left.
about the author

Sabina Khan

Sabina Khan is the author of  ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE (Scholastic/ April 6, 2021) and THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI (Scholastic, 2019). She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, two daughters and the best puppy in the world. (Sourced from the author’s personal website)

about the narrator

Richa Moorjani

Richa Moorjani is an Indian-American actress who is best known for her role as Kamala in the series Never Have I Ever. (Wikipedia)

Other books narrated by Richa Moorjani: The Marvelous Mirza Girls, Don’t Read The Comments

Buy Zara Hossain is Here:
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I recommend this book first and foremost for this small glimpse into the immigrant experience it offers. @Sabina_writer absolutely knocks it out of the park with her delightful characters and her illustration of how broken our immigration system truly is.

Happy Monday, yall!


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Published by Sarah

My name is Sarah and I can't imagine my life without books. Actually, I can and it's terrible. I'm also into climbing, video games and bothering the nearest cat.

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