Rukhsana Khan's Wanting Mor's front jacket promised a journey of unremitting misery. It's not enough that the narrator, Jameela, loses her extended family to an American bombing raid, or that her mother dies of illness, or that her dad is a boozing loser. She also has a cleft lip. So it was with considerable trepidation that I opened the first page of this book, expecting an educational lesson in how bad life can get.
Khan's touch is much more deft than that though. Yes, Jameela's life is unimaginably hard compared to the cushy lives of my kids, but she doesn't see herself as a victim. Her voice is authentic and hopeful, striving to follow her ideals and her mother's code but not always succeeding. Her commitment to Islam rings true, as do her attempts to honor her father even when it's painfully obvious that he doesn't deserve it. I really enjoyed this book, and I'll look around to see if Khan has other books available. The dangers and heartbreak of war show clearly, but so does Jameela's individuality and strength of spirit. A-.
Challenges: Well, I feel quite accomplished. This book starts off the 100 Books Challenge, the A-Z Challenge, Support Your Library Challenge, Take Another Chance Challenge (#5), and the Young Reader Challenge. I'll come back and edit those as links when I get the challenge posts up.