We will make another path: Reviewing A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Hi everybody! I hope everyone is still doing their best to stay safe and sane as we continue forward with lockdown or quarantine or whatever you want to call it. I am a week away from being done with this semester. It’s a bittersweet feeling. On one hand, I’ll have a break from the pressures of grad school and having to deal with online classes. On the other hand, I will be incredibly bored. I still have a stack of books I’m so excited to get through, though. While I wait to be free, I decided to review another book I read this semester. It isn’t what I would choose to read but I am very glad I read it. Here is my review of A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza.

Rafiq and Layla have only wanted what was best for their children, but tragedy drives their family apart. Now, on the day of their eldest daughter’s wedding, they must come to terms with the tragic past that has haunted them. First, they must come to terms with Hadia’s untraditional marriage, then their second daughter Huda’s determination to follow her sister’s path, and finally, they must try to reach out to their youngest and only son Amar, who has been estranged for the last three years. The family must learn to forgive the past in order to create a better future.

Like I said, this was a required novel so normally it is not something I would choose to read so I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel. I am even writing my final paper on it. The writing is delicate and doesn’t pressure you to choose any one side as conflict happens. The characters are perfectly imperfect, which makes them feel like real humans. Mirza’s attention to detail within this non-linear novel is what makes this novel so unique. With the main family being Indian and Muslim, it offers a different perspective on tradition and culture. I think it is always important to explore other cultures, especially through literature. Even when Mirza touches on topics that are still rather taboo, like addiction, she handles it beautifully and carefully by offering multiple perspectives. The book is as heart warming as it is heart breaking with such great attention to detail. I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good tear jerker with a lovely message.

Books That Made Me Cry

Hi everybody! Let’s talk about our literary feelings. Though I am not a huge crier when it comes to novels, some have certainly hit me in the direct me in the feelings. I’m sure all of you have had books like these. Maybe there are some books that you don’t want to read again because they hurt you so badly. Well, here are the books that tore my heart into a million little pieces. Obviously, there are going to be spoilers in this post.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling: We all cried at this book. I clearly remember having to set the book down multiple times in order to pull myself together. The moment we lost Hedwig, I knew it was all going to go downhill. I was thoroughly traumatized by this novel as a child and I still tear up during the movie. (Except when Snape dies because I can’t stand that bastard.)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is yet another book that traumatized me as a child. To begin out, this book is set during World War Two so it was due to be depressing. The details of the story are haunting and the characters go through such turmoil. I actually did cry at this book. It is still one of my favorites, though, and I would recommend it if you want a good cry.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: The saddest part about this novel was I went in knowing exactly what would happen. The novel is essentially a re-telling of The Illiad through Patroclus’ point of view. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Homer’s epic, Patroclus is Achilles’ charioteer and lover. The whole novel takes such an intimate look at the relationship between these two young men who are forced into a war that neither of them wants to fight. The ending is just so much more heart breaking. I’d highly recommend this novel.

Looking for Alaska by John Green: Green has been infamous for making many a teen girl cry at his novels and I was yet just another one. Though I did tear up during The Fault in Our Stars, I was genuinely shocked during Looking for Alaska. I had to flip back through the novel to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The book is more realistic in the sense that the loss is sudden and unexpected. I still have a hard time revisiting this novel.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: We all cried when Lenny died. Don’t even try to deny it. The whole book was just generally heart-breaking but the end gets me every time. It is one of those novels that was never going to have a happy ending.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Holy cow, did this book hurt my soul. I read this for a class I took and I had a hard time discussing it without getting outraged. Though the novel does have a happy ending, it still absolutely hurts me to read about children getting hurt in any way, shape, or form. With that being said, go read this book.

Everything Affects Everything: Reviewing Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I was actually required to read this book for the Young Adult Literature class I’m currently taking. I was a bit skeptical about this book going in. I had heard mixed reviews about this novel so I was a bit hesitant to read it. It’s certainly a difficult book to read and review. Suicide is never a topic that comes up with ease. Most of the time, people have to pull the word out of themselves in order to talk about it. But it is something that needs to be talked about so now I will give you my review of Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher’s debut novel.

Clay Jensen’s life had just returned to normal when a package shows up that changes everything he knows. It contains tapes that were made by his deceased classmate, Hannah Baker, who tragically took her own life not too long ago. Clay decides to embark on a journey around his town with Hannah guiding him in order to learn why the reasons why she took her life. Asher’s unique and haunting narration provides an impactful look at teen suicide and how it affects others.

Like I said, I was skeptical about this novel going in but I now have a better understanding of it. Asher’s writing is breath-taking and suspenseful as he helps the reader (and Clay) understand how even small actions can have a huge impact on people’s lives. Hannah and Clay are unnervingly relatable as they both struggle with the consequences of their actions. Asher isn’t afraid to reveal the toxic environments that teenagers face as they struggle through high school. Thirteen Reasons Why is a hard pill to swallow but it’s worth it in order to understand the importance of being kind to others.

Note: I have not watched the Netflix series but I haven’t heard good reviews about it. If you have watched it, I would like to know what you think and how it compares to the book.