Bound To Stay Bound

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 Girl like that
 Author: Bhathena, Tanaz

 Publisher:  Square Fish (2019)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 378 p.,  22 cm

 BTSB No: 118520 ISBN: 9780374305444
 Ages: 14-18 Grades: 9-12

 East Indians -- Saudi Arabia -- Fiction
 Dating (Social customs) -- Fiction
 Rape -- Fiction
 Bullies -- Fiction
 Religion -- Fiction
 High schools -- Fiction
 School stories
 Jiddah (Saudi Arabia) -- Fiction
 Saudi Arabia -- Fiction

Price: $9.01

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 and move 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.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: UG
   Reading Level: 5.90
   Points: 13.0   Quiz: 197615
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 9-12
   Reading Level: 5.70
   Points: 19.0   Quiz: 72749

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 02/01/2018 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 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 05/15/2018 With her debut novel, written in a chorus of voices, Bhathena enters the YA scene with a bang, writing complicated characters with mastery and nuance. Starting with the aftermath of a car accident that kills the two main characters, Zarin and Porus, A Girl like That doesn’t begin in a traditional way, but Zarin is not a traditional girl. As she narrates her chapters from a spiritual plane, her sensitivity, rebellious nature, and anger slowly come to the fore. The novel’s backdrop, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, emerges with fascinating depth, particularly when Zarin’s Gujarati heritage sometimes clashes with Saudi Arabia’s culture and strict religious protocols. Cultivating a cast of characters rarely seen in YA, Bhathena does a great job of juggling the five narrators’ voices, each of which offers insight into Zarin’s character and the events leading up to the death, all while touching on sexual assault and bullying. Bhathena writes her elegant, lyrical sentences with command, and though there’s certainly tragedy in Zarin’s haunting story, there’s plenty of hope, too. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.

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