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A Girl Like That
Contributor(s): Bhathena, Tanaz
ISBN: 0374305447     ISBN-13: 9780374305444
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: February 2018
Annotation: In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sixteen-year-old half-Hindu/half-Parsi Zarin Wadia is the class troublemaker and top subject for the school rumor blogs, regularly leaving class to smoke cigarettes in cars with boys, but she also desperately wants to grow up andmove out of her aunt and uncle's house, perhaps realizing too late that Porus, another non-Muslim Indian who risks deportation but remains devoted to Zarin, could help her escape.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
East Indians; Saudi Arabia; Juvenile fiction.
East Indians; Saudi Arabia; Fiction.
Dating (Social customs); Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2017011020
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 6.00" W x 1.00" (1.00 lbs) 378 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q72749
Reading Level: 5.7   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 19.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 November #4)

Bhathena makes an impressive debut with this eye-opening novel about a free-spirited girl in present-day Saudi Arabia. Orphaned at a young age, Zarin Wadia moves in with her uncle and abusive aunt, who constantly shames and beats her. "Some people hide, some people fight to cover up their shame," Zarin explains. "I was always the kind of person who fought." Her treatment at school is even worse—she's shunned for being different (she's Zoroastrian, for starters) and responds by smoking cigarettes and sneaking out with boys. After Zarin gets reacquainted with a childhood friend, Porus, she becomes dependent on him for escape, protection, and the type of gentle affection she has not felt since her mother's death. Readers know from the outset that Zarin and Porus die in a gruesome car accident, and their reflective post-death narratives share space with chapters written from the perspectives of others in their orbits. Bhathena's novel should spur heated discussions about sexist double standards and the ways societies restrict, control, and punish women and girls. Ages 14–up. Agent: Eleanor Jackson, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Feb.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 February)

Gr 8 Up—When Zarin and her friend Porus die in a car accident in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, everyone, from the religious police to Zarin's classmates, is suspicious—was Porus one of Zarin's many romantic liaisons? Only the deceased teens know the truth, and as their spirits hover above the wreckage, they look back on what led up to this point. Raised by her aunt and uncle, Zarin knows that her origins are a shameful secret to her family ("Illegitimate. Half-Hindu. Gangster's daughter."). Her domineering aunt, who fears seeing Zarin follow the same path as her "loose" mother, keeps a tight grip on the girl, to no avail. After the teen and her family move from Mumbai, India, to Jeddah, she defies convention, dating boys and smoking, but reconnecting with gentle Porus, who's been entranced by Zarin since they met as children. He helps to soften her hard exterior. Bhathena's lithe prose effortlessly wends between past and present. This contemplative novel is primarily narrated by the two young people, both outsiders as non-Muslims and Indians in Saudi Arabia, but the author also incorporates the perspectives of "insiders": Zarin's ex-boyfriend Abdullah; his righteous sister, Mishal, who bullies Zarin for her wayward behavior; and Farhan, the popular but predatory student on whom Zarin nurses a crush. Though these many voices aren't always distinct, together they portray a restrictive society that attempts to subdue every woman, whether a stickler for the rules like Mishal, or a rebel like Zarin. VERDICT A powerful debut; for most collections.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.