For most of high school, Bijan Majidi has flown under the radar. He gets good grades, reads comics, hangs out with his best friend, Sean, and secretly crushes on Elle, one of the most popular girls in his school. When he's called off the basketball team's varsity bench and makes the winning basket in a playoff game, everything changes in an instant.
But not everyone is happy Bijan is the man of the hour: An anonymous cyberbully sends the entire school a picture of Bijan photoshopped to look like a terrorist. His mother is horrified, and the school administration is outraged. They promise to find and punish the culprit.
All Bijan wants is to pretend it never happened and move on, but the incident isn't so easily erased. Though many of his classmates rally behind Bijan, some don't want him or his type to be a part of their school. And Bijan's finding out it's not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends....
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- Lindsey Brynjolfsson
Content vs narrator
I love all or Sara’s books and I’m sure this one would not be an exception if I read the book in print form as I couldn’t get past the narrator with this one. No voice changes to denote which character was speaking made it hard to follow as an audio book so I have not been able to finish it
YA story with a muslim teen boy at the helm
This book featured a teenager who was a non-practicing Muslim boy and when he becomes the subject of a hate crime. I think the narrator left a lot to be desired but Bijan's story was a powerful one. It dealt with microaggressions in a way I rarely hear the POV from(Muslim boys, brown boys, Islamphobia). As a Black-Latinx person, I feel like I felt the weight of his story, and the pressure he felt with having to feel guilty for the crimes of the majority when they have nothing to do with you. After 9/11, non-Black Muslims struggled in a way their Black community has always experienced, but there are things they've always gone through that were highlighted in this book.
It was often uncomfortable as his white counterparts often wanted him to answer for things he had nothing to do with. He even had an exchange with a Black team mate(he was a basketball player) about how different their microaggressions faced were.
This book did have a handful of inclusion(queer, east asian, Black) as his love interest was also Black(though I wish it'd be heavier on the romance). Bijan was also half Jordanian and Iranian, and his father who'd passed was actually Christian so he grew up interfaith. I think the only complaint I had was the lack of descriptions. I'm sure the author didn't want to overly describe people in a non-flattering way(food references like said in the book) but I didn't know how to picture a ton of characters who always had screentime.
This author has a way of humanizing Muslim narratives and I'm glad this was my first read from them. I look forward to many more.