Farhana swallowed and reached for the hijab. But then she saw with absolute clarity the weird looks from the other girls at school, and the smirks from the guys. Did she dare? And then there was Malik… What should she do about him? Faraz was thinking about Skrooz and the lads. Soon he would finally have the respect of the other kids at school. But at what price? He heard Skrooz’s voice, sharp as a switchblade: “This thing is powerful, blud. But you have to earn it, see? Just a few more errands for me…” They’re twins, born 6 minutes apart. Both are in turmooil and both have life-changing choices to make, against the peaceful backdrop of Ramadan. Do Farhana and Faraz have enough courage to do the right thing? And can they help each other – or will one of them draw the other towards catastrophe? This powerful novel explores the idea of honour and what it means to different generations of Muslim families.
This book was something I normally would have not picked up but I’m glad I was able to read it. I was moved by the Muslim customs in this book and it allows you to put yourself in their position, regardless of your religious upbringing.
What struck me is the Muslim culture suffers from so much racism; even bringing their children up in different countries they are still expected to follow the Pakistani way, even if the opposite sex is Muslim and white, black, brown or whatever. They are not and will not be a part of their families. I felt myself shuttering when the families absolutely refused to hear anything otherwise.
The story of the book covers from a male and female perspective; twin boy (Faraz) and girl (Farhana). He wants to be accepted at school but at what cost? He has fallen into the ‘gang’ crowd. As much as he wants out, especially with Ramadan in full swing, he does not have the courage to stand up for himself and say no. He finds himself beating up guys with bats and selling drugs.
His sister is struggling with her identity as a Muslim. She wants to wear the hijab (headscarf) but her mother refuses to hear of it. If she defies her and wears it what will happen with her social status at school? She’s been told she is supermodel beautiful but wearing the hijab will force the eyes of boys (and girls) to look the other way. Is this really what she wants?
As they are struggling to come into their own a horrible accident happens and threatens to take the life of one of the twins. Will the family pull together to overcome this or will they fall completely apart?
No matter what your religious background I highly recommend reading this book, especially to the YA crowd. Gangs, drugs, peer pressure is everywhere…