Reading Riot: Books that Feature Muslim Teen Characters

Posted by Aaron on

This year Ramadan, which is observed by Muslims worldwide, began May 16 and ends June 14. Here we highlight some outstanding young adult books that focus on Muslim teens and the unique challenges they face.

Love, Hate & other Filters cover girl photographerLove, Hate & Other Filters is an unforgettable debut about a Muslim teen who copes with Islamophobia, cultural divides and a reality she can’t explain or escape. American-born Maya Aziz is torn between her parent’s world of college and marrying a suitable Muslim boy and her dream world of film school and dating her classmate, Phil. But then a terrorist attack changes her life forever.

In The Lines We Cross, Michael’s parents are leaders of an anti-immigrant group trying to stop the tide of refugees flooding the country. Then Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart — and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents’ politics seem much more complicated.

Does My Head Look Big in This? refers to the hijab, or the Muslim head scarf, that Amal decides to wear full-time as a badge of her faith. Life is tough at her snobby prep school but now it’s even more complicated as she is determined to preserve her identity and sense of style.

Hard issues are explored in Saints and Misfits when 15-year-old Janna, a book nerd and the daughter of the only divorced mother at their mosque, tries to make sense of her world. Her best friend’s cousin–a holy star in the Muslim community–attempted to assault her at the end of sophomore year.

In Driving by Starlight, a debut young adult friendship story set in Saudi Arabia, two girls navigate typical teen issues―crushes, college, family expectations, future hopes, and dreams.

Not allowed to eat from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan and forbidden to date, 15-year-old Almira in Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. finds that temptation comes in many forms during the Muslim holy month, as she longs to feel like a typical American girl.

Enjoy these and many other books in our diverse collection!

∼ Ann McDuffie, Youth Services Librarian, Bealeton branch library

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