Last year I discovered the Ramadan Readathon hosted by Nadia at Headscarves and Hardbacks. It was a great reminder to seek out books written by Muslim authors. I read four novels and a memoir by Muslim authors during the month of June. I’m not a Muslim, but the readathon is an excellent chance to support Muslim creators and connect with others. It’s also a great way to find recommendations for some awesome books.
This year, the Ramadan Readathon is back and there are several other associated activities. There is a blog tour from May 17th to June 15th and there is also a photo challenge and a hashtag so people who aren’t necessarily doing the readathon can still have opportunities to participate. Visit Nadia’s blog to learn more about participation and to find lists to help plan what to read or to purchase for your library.
Another similar campaign is #RamadanReads. This was started by Aisha Saeed a few years ago and people use the hashtag to purchase, read, and promote books with Muslim representation.
Here are the books I have on my TBR this year and I am likely to add a few more:
Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi
Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.
Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Nancy Paulsen Books
Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when–as the eldest daughter–she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens–after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.
Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…
Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim
The summer after her freshman year in college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala and religious but closeted Umar. But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what better escape than New Orleans?
The friends pile into Umar’s car and start driving south, making all kinds of pit stops along the way–from a college drag party to a Muslim convention, from alarming encounters at roadside diners to honky-tonks and barbeque joints.
Along with the adventures, the fun banter, and the gas station junk food, the friends have some hard questions to answer on the road. With her uncle’s address in her pocket, Mariam hopes to learn the truth about her father (and to make sure she didn’t inherit his talent for disappearing). But as each mile of the road trip brings them closer to their own truths, they know they can rely on each other, and laughter, to get them through.
Do you know of any other YA titles by Muslim authors I should add to my list? Will you be participating in any reading activities during Ramadan? Let us know in the comments below.
One Reply to “Muslim Voices 2018”
I would also add Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed, Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai, Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, and the Ms. Marvel series by G. Willow Wilson, Escape from Syria by Samya Kullab, Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan, and the upcoming Mirage by Somiya Daud which releases in August (but galleys are available on Netgalley and Edleweiss I believe). I am also doing a personal reading challenge as I observe Ramadan, but I will definitely check out the sites you listed above.
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