by Sheba Karim
Nina Khan is the only Asian, the only Muslim, at her small town high school in Deer Hook, NY. She has good friends, but as she gets older, it feels like the differences between her and them get more and more pronounced. They're allowed to date. She's not. Their free time is spent at high school parties and after school jobs, Nina spends her time studying (trying to live up to her genius older sister's example) and at gatherings of the local Pakistani Muslim community, where her mother is on the lookout for prospective marriage matches for her. The tug between making her parents happy (which means following the rules of her religion and the cultural norms of a country she's never even been to) and wanting to do things like act on her crush on Asher, the new Italian guy at school has Nina thinking a lot about who she is and how she wants to be in the world. And don't get her started on the body hair! Nina's struggle to navigate her two cultures is both realistic and humorous.