Hiya guys! I am super glad I got to win an ARC copy of That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim from Mindy McGinnis’s amazing website Writer, Writer Pants on Fire. I actually have met Sheba twice, and she was super nice! I got to first see her at the SE-YA Book Fest and later have her sign my beautiful ARC at Sandhya Menon’s signing for When Dimple Met Rishi (it is such an amazing book by the way) since she conversed with Sandhya over her debut. She is such a great and talented writer, and here’s my review of her newest YA novel That Thing We Call a Heart..
About the Book
Shabnam Qureshi is a funny, imaginative Pakistani-American teen attending a tony private school in suburban New Jersey. When her feisty best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf without even consulting her, it begins to unravel their friendship. After hooking up with the most racist boy in school and telling a huge lie about a tragedy that happened to her family during the Partition of India in 1947, Shabnam is ready for high school to end. She faces a summer of boredom and regret, but she has a plan: Get through the summer. Get to college. Don’t look back. Begin anew.
Everything changes when she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack, and meets her there every afternoon. Shabnam begins to see Jamie and herself like the rose and the nightingale of classic Urdu poetry, which, according to her father, is the ultimate language of desire. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating—her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but Farah finds Jamie worrying.
With Farah’s help, Shabnam uncovers the truth about Jamie, about herself, and what really happened during Partition. As she rebuilds her friendship with Farah and grows closer to her parents, Shabnam learns powerful lessons about the importance of love, in all of its forms.
Featuring complex, Muslim-American characters who defy conventional stereotypes and set against a backdrop of Radiohead’s music and the evocative metaphors of Urdu poetry, THAT THING WE CALL A HEART is a honest, moving story of a young woman’s explorations of first love, sexuality, desire, self-worth, her relationship with her parents, the value of friendship, and what it means to be true.
Disclaimer: I won a free ARC of this book in a giveaway.
Overall Thoughts: I am super glad that I was able to win Sheba Karim’s That Thing We Call a Heart from a giveaway Mindy McGinnis held on her website Writer, Writer Pants on Fire. I loved this book a lot. It definitely was one that I couldn’t put down. I finished this while waiting for my dad at Sam’s Club! It was not only cute, but it was also enlightening. This is a tale that will stay with you for a while because the lessons in this book are priceless. This was an amazing romance and coming-of-age story!
So Much Love!: I love how there’s so much love in this book. Shabnam has to navigate through many different kinds of love as she figures out who truly loves her and who doesn’t, who she truly loves and who she doesn’t. This is definitely a great coming-to-age tale, telling how she navigates faith, friendship, family, and romance. I loved how she tries to get closer to both her best friend and her family even though she encountered various challenges along the way. I loved how tiny secrets and foreshadowing details slowly uncover that reveal the truth about those she love, whether it’s her mom, dad, Farah, or Jamie. And I was rooting for Shabnam and Jamie all the way! They were so cute together! I can’t give anything more away, or I’ll spoil the whole book, but I can say that you would both go “Aww…” and “You go girl!” in this book. There’s so much love in the air!
Diversity: I definitely came out with more knowledge about Muslim culture and the challenges they face in everyday life. I enjoyed learning more about Urdu poetry to the Partition of India and the Bosnian Genocide. Shabnam’s entire culture played such an influential role in the book that I know more, which is what a book about racial diversity should do. They should help us see how others treat different groups of people, and that’s what this book did. I know see the prejudice Farah had to go through when she first wore her hijab. I know see how hatred led to horrific events such as the Partition and the Bosnian Genocide. Thing We Call a Heart has helped me learned much more about the Islamic culture, and it has shone a new light onto the challenges that many Muslims face. This is definitely a book that you should consider picking up.
Concluding Thoughts: That Thing We Call a Heart is definitely a book you should go pick up. Just like Shabnam, it will teach you what is love, and how to love each other, regardless of race, religion, sex, etc. The lessons that you and Shabnam will learn will definitely stick with you for a while, and it will help you see the world in a new light.
Do you have any thoughts or questions?
Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!