Bound To Stay Bound

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 Barakah Beats
 Author: Siddiqui, Maleeha

 Publisher:  Scholastic Press (2021)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 277 p.,  21 cm

 BTSB No: 816974 ISBN: 9781338702064
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Muslims -- Fiction
 Rock groups -- Fiction
 Friendship -- Fiction
 Middle schools -- Fiction

Price: $22.58

Twelve-year-old Nimra Sharif has spent her whole life in Islamic school, but now is enrolled in a public middle school where she has problems adjusting. Desperate to fit in, she joins the school's popular 8th grade boy band, Barakah Beats. When the band signs up for a talent show to benefit refugees, will she be able to deal with her parents' disapproval of music?

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 4.30
   Points: 7.0   Quiz: 513492

   Kirkus Reviews (09/15/21)
   School Library Journal (+) (00/10/21)
   Booklist (+) (10/01/21)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 10/01/2021 *Starred Review* Nimra is nervous about trading her small Islamic academy for seventh grade in a public middle school, and though she knows it will be a transition—she’ll be the only girl there in a hijab—she’s thrilled to finally join her best friend in the classroom. But when a suddenly distant Jenna doesn’t make an effort to include her, Nimra’s one comfort slips away. In a seemingly helpful twist of fate, three older Muslim boys overhear Nimra singing as she prays at school, and they invite her to join their band. Nimra is torn about hanging out with the boys, which might regain Jenna’s approval, because creating music conflicts with her family’s interpretation of Islamic guidelines. She decides to briefly join up and quietly drop out once she’s back in Jenna’s inner circle, but the band flourishes, and life becomes more complicated. It’s a delight to watch Nimra navigate school, family, and friendships while taking pride in her religion and abilities. She’s a wonderful, confident kid who has no patience for stereotyping or unkindness, and the story gives her room to examine her faith, make mistakes, and get a little messy. Fraught family relationships, shifting friendships, differing religious practices—they’re big topics, but debut-author Siddiqui deftly tackles them with warmth, humor, and compassion. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 10/01/2021 Gr 4–8—When Nimra memorizes the Qur'an ahead of schedule, her parents decide to send her to public school as a seventh grader, an entire year earlier than planned. At least Nimra will have her longtime friend Jenna to show her the ropes--right? But Nimra's new classmates have all kinds of assumptions about her faith, and Jenna isn't defending her. So when Barakah Beats, the popular Muslim boyband at school, wants her to sing with them, Nimra agrees, even though performing goes against her beliefs. But as lies build, Nimra is torn between friends, family, and faith, until she's no longer sure who she is. From the very beginning, this is an excellently constructed story. Nimra's dilemmas and challenges will be understood by every reader, regardless of faith or background. Nimra spends the book feeling deeply conflicted about music and its role in her faith and life, but the book's ultimate strength is in demonstrating how, just like there is no one right way to be a teenager, there is no one right way to practice faith. Nimra's decision at the story's end will likely surprise many, but it is one that feels absolutely true to the character. And when she does find her voice, readers will feel the chills right along with her. VERDICT Every elementary and middle school library will benefit from this touching story about a preteen struggling to reconcile faith, friends, and family against the backdrop of an American middle school.—Kristin Brynsvold, Tuckahoe Elem. Sch., Arlington, VA - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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