Title: Not the Girls You’re Looking For
Author: Aminah Mae Safi
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley
Availability: On shelves now
Summary: 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.
Review: Lulu jumped from the page for me. She has specific concerns, but they also inspire the same emotions anyone can experience at different times in life. She’s part of an immigrant family and wants to blend in when she is at school, but also when she is with her family. This is something she sees as a problem. She doesn’t feel that she fits in either space and sees this as a negative. Over time, she begins to see benefits to being able to inhabit both spaces. The process is messy and filled with conflicts which is what I appreciated about the book. Realistic fiction works best when it’s showing people with all of their little quirks and even the massive contortions our relationships and personalities can go through. Lulu makes some pretty big screw-ups, but manages to face them and work through to the other side.
The book is filled with humor even when dealing with some fairly serious topics including gender expectations, growing up in multiple cultures, race issues, alcoholism, romantic relationships, and more. Lulu is fasting for Ramadan and the focus isn’t just on the lack of food and the hunger. Lulu has her own reasons for fasting and in the book readers can see the many reasons why someone might or might not choose to fast. They can also see that Ramadan is more than simply skipping meals.
Recommendation: Get it soon especially if contemporary novels are your thing. Lulu and her friends will make you want to shake them at times, but they will also bring you smiles and laughter.