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Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. [NOOK Book]

Overview

No pizza. No boyfriend. (No life.)

Okay, so during Ramadan, we're not allowed to eat from sunrise to sunset. For one whole month. My family does this every year, even though I've been to a mosque exactly twice in my life. And it's true, I could stand to lose a few pounds. (Sadly, my mom's hotness skipped a generation.) But is starvation really an acceptable method? I think not.

Even worse, my oppressive ...

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Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.

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Overview

No pizza. No boyfriend. (No life.)

Okay, so during Ramadan, we're not allowed to eat from sunrise to sunset. For one whole month. My family does this every year, even though I've been to a mosque exactly twice in my life. And it's true, I could stand to lose a few pounds. (Sadly, my mom's hotness skipped a generation.) But is starvation really an acceptable method? I think not.

Even worse, my oppressive parents forbid me to date. This is just cruel and wrong. Especially since Peter, a cute and crushable artist, might be my soul mate. Figures my bestest friend Lisa likes him, too. To top it off, there's a new Muslim girl in school who struts around in super-short skirts, commanding every boy's attention-including Peter's. How can I get him to notice me? And will I ever figure out how to be Muslim and American?

Praise:
"A humorous, hip look at the ups and downs of fasting for Ramadan within the context of intergenerational and cultural challenges."—KIRKUS REVIEWS

"I love Almira Abdul—the honest, tell-it-like-it-is, funny, and very real main character of Medeia Sharif's wonderful, eye-opening debut."—Melissa Senate, author of SEE JANE DATE

"Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. deftly combines humor and poignancy with an authentic teen voice set against the multicultural background of vibrant Miami and Almira's loving yet strict Muslim family."—Paula Yoo, author of SIXTEEN YEARS IN SIXTEEN SECONDS and GOOD ENOUGH

"I laughed out loud as Almira struggled to fit in with her traditional family as well as the rest of the world."—Sydney Salter, author of MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—Fifteen-year-old weight-obsessed Almira is trying to fast through her first Ramadan. She looks forward to slimming down during the month. She and her best friend, Lisa, both develop a crush on the same boy and conflict ensues. Almira has to balance her religious beliefs, her parents' expectations of her, and the pressure to "fit in." The teen is described as being a size eight, and while she may feel chubby next to her exercise-obsessed mother (whom she consistently and somewhat creepily describes as "hot"), a girl who wears a size eight is not fat and neither is Ramadan a holy diet plan. Also, Lisa's stupidity is played for laughs, although someone in an honors class not knowing that The Diary of Anne Frank was written by Anne Frank is hardly amusing. The book is too long, and Almira's incessant whining about her size becomes tiresome. There is a sweet scene in which Almira goes to mosque and enjoys the experience of practicing her faith with other Muslims; during this passage she finally seems real and not a caricature of a weight-obsessed teen. While books with Muslim lead characters are needed, this one is an additional purchase for libraries in which Randa Abdel-Fattah's (very fine) books are popular.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Kirkus Reviews

When a 15-year-old contemporary American Muslim from a "half-way religious" family opts to observe Ramadan, she has no idea how difficult and rewarding it will be.

As Ramadan begins, Almira vows this will be her "first successful month of fasting" after last year's disgraceful encounter with some Oreos. Her grandparents "follow Islam to the tee," and her parents are "pretty religious," while Almira's only "sort of religious" and one of just two Muslim students at her Miami-Dade high school. Her parents have high expectations, including medical school and an arranged marriage, but Almira's focused on her weight, hair, braces and boys. Ready and determined to have a boyfriend despite parental prohibitions, Almira has a crush on classmate Peter, but so does her best friend, who disses her when Peter chooses Almira. Ramadan proves to be a "month of discovery" as Almira sheds pounds and gains an "inner pool of strength." She chronicles her Ramadan experience from beginning to end in a breezy banter that progresses from the shallow to the insightful as she learns humility, patience and the importance of faith.

A humorous, hip look at the ups and downs of fasting for Ramadan within the context of intergenerational and cultural challenges.(Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738728513
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 312
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Medeia Sharif (Miami Beach, FL) is a Kurdish-American author and high school English teacher. She received her master's degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. is her debut novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 3, 2014

    If you're looking for a humorous, amazingly written story, "

    If you're looking for a humorous, amazingly written story, "Bestest.Ramadan.Ever" is the book to read. It's different than many books on the market in that it stars a Muslim-American teen. Almira's character is very believable in her struggle to balance between her American life and her Muslim culture. I strongly disagree with the more negative reviews; I found Almira's reactions and actions to the conflicts between her and her family very believable. Having worked for years as a bilingual and English as a Second Language teacher, I saw first hand the relationships my students had with their parents and conflicts on both sides, with the children maintaining their family's language and culture while trying to blend in at school, and the parents pulling their hair out trying to deal with their children going against tradition. Also, many kids in the U.S. are in mixed-cultured schools in different parts of the country, so why some people criticized the idea of Almira liking a white American boy is strange to me - kids today don't look at each other in colors, just at each other. One of the funniest scenes in the book is with Almira and her love interest Peter's backpack. I won't give it away but I guarantee you'll be laughing as you're reading it.

    Sharif is such a talented, gifted writer. She has an incredible ability to write with a great voice. She also knows the right balance between expressing emotion and including humor to make each chapter flow quickly from one to the next. I am not an avid reader, but this book was too good to put down and I finished it in one sitting. I highly recommend this book to teens, pre-teens, adults, and anyone looking for a great read.

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  • Posted March 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I don't usually leave poor reviews for authors. But I felt I nee

    I don't usually leave poor reviews for authors. But I felt I needed to express how terribly misrepresentative this story is to the Muslim faith. It's true, many Muslim teenage girls are not religious and don't do more than wear hijab while in the mosque or fast during Ramadan--even if forced by their parents. But I didn't appreciate how this author made the Muslim faith feel like one big, ugly pain in the butt. I originally sought out this book because I wondered what kind of literature young, Muslim girls had to turn to if they wanted to read about something they can relate to. Yes, all Muslim girls can relate to having a crush. Everyone's human. All Muslim girls can relate to the pressures of home life. Again, another human condition. But the way the practices of the Muslim faith are depicted in this book made my stomach twist. I feel it was extremely misrepresentative, and worse, poor taste. Plus the fact the author is Kurdish, it makes me wonder if she herself had a negative experience with Islam or if she is Muslim, and feels this is a way to make Islam contemporary. Either way, as a reader, as an American Muslim, and as a mother who does her best to teach her three daughters that a little self-discipline and faith in modern society isn't something to be ashamed of, I can't bring myself to rate this book anything more than a 1 star. And that's not because I'm a prude. It's because I understand the benefit of some basic and fundamental boundaries in life. I certainly won't be picking up the other book to this series about Almira hiding her boyfriend from her Muslim family. What a great way to encourage young, Muslim teens to lie and deceive their parents. No thanks. 

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  • Posted July 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Almira Abdul is a regular American teenager who is concerned wit

    Almira Abdul is a regular American teenager who is concerned with her appearance, friends, and getting a boyfriend. She has a little bit of an issue with the latter because of her Muslim heritage. Girls aren't supposed to date boys. The Bestest Ramadan Ever is Almira's story of her life during the month-long Muslim observation of Ramadan, where fasting occurs from dawn to dusk. Almira undergoes a bit of a transformation. She starts out as an insecure, overweight fifteen-year-old and blossoms into a thinner, more secure sixteen-year-old, albeit after navigating a love-triangle and objections from her family.

    The voice of the main character, Almira, is very well done. She and her love interest, Peter, are cute together. The portrayal of the other teen characters is also good. The cantankerous old grandfather adds a little humor to the story - he's Almira's driving instructor, but he can't manage to pull his car into the driveway without knocking over garbage cans or hitting something.

    The Bestest Ramadan Ever is an enjoyable read and one that would appeal to readers ages eleven and older. (Note: Those who adhere to the traditional Muslim rules would probably not enjoy this book because the main character and some of the other characters deviate from acceptable Muslim values.)

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  • Posted March 14, 2013

    Loved it! Fun to read! Humor similar to ¿My Big Fat Greek Weddin

    Loved it! Fun to read! Humor similar to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding!”
    Teens and pre-teens will relate to this book! Almira, the main character, is torn between what her parents think is best for her and what she really wants. She has a major crush on a boy, has a conflict with her best friend, worries about her weight, and her parents are always picking at her. The ethnic issues in the family are handled very well and in a realistic, relatable manner. Even with all the conflicts in Almira’s life, there is humor throughout, and the book is a light, fun read! I highly recommend Medeia Sharif’s book, “Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.”

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Question

    On a scale of one to ten hoe good is this book if one is the least good and ten is the best? Plz reply to *rb12*!

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    Lighthearted and deep

    I've been on the lookout. I've been on the lookout for books with Muslim protagonists, and I haven't been able to find that many. (But maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places? I don't know.) But one day, I stumbled across a blog, and it was the blog of a writer named Medeia Sharif. After a little clicking around, I found out that she had a book coming out titled BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. and you can guess the rest. I was thrilled to have found something with a Muslim protag. And the fact that there was a little romance mixed in was icing on the cake. I absolutely positively had to buy this book!

    In BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER., 15-year-old Almira can't seem to ever get through one Ramadan without cheating. The temptation of Oreo cookies is just too. freaking. much. But not this year. This year, Almira's controlling family has put an insane amount of pressure on Almira to make it through the fast. This year, Almira is dedicated and devoted. This year is going to be the bestest. Ramadan. ever. Or, at least, that's what Almira says. Making her family proud is hard when all she wants to do is kiss all over that cute new guy at school and party with her friends.

    This book is hilarious. I mean, not the book, but Almira. She's witty and snarky and she has all this commentary on nearly everything in her head. What I really, really loved was that Almira was written as a normal teenage girl with the same interests, etc., and that her being Muslim was just one of her many qualities-like me and my uber gayness, Suzie Q. and her blue-eyedness, etc.

    I also really liked how Almira's family was written. Her grandpa was very traditional (y'know, likes to follow the rules, condemns pop culture) and judgmental. I, like Almira, have family members like that. Also, I loved how Sharif mentioned some of the Muslim stereotypes, and how Almira's grandpa would judge other Muslims more than he did people of other religions, race, etc.

    Basically, I just really liked this book. It's funny, it's enjoyable, and it somehow manages to be both lighthearted and deep.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 stars

    3.5 stars. Fifteen-year-old Almira didn't get through Ramadan last year without cheating. Her parents were disappointed, her grandfather berated her, and Almira felt humiliated. This year she vows to stick to the fast from sunup to sundown. As the story follows Almira through the month of Ramadan, we learn that while her parents seem modern and "cool," they actually follow traditional Muslim beliefs; these beliefs come across as limits on Almira such as no dating, no picutres of teen movie stars as computer screensavers, and the only choice of husbands in the future is choosing someone which her parents have preselected. Almira at times feels that her upbringing is making a huge hole in her social life. She likes Peter, a boy at school, but so does her best friend. A new girl at school makes her life miserable and even seems to have caught the eye of Peter. Since Almira's not allowed to date, how is she supposed to get the guy? Add to the mix her grandfather, who is teaching Almira to drive. He constantly yells at her and is very opinionated about other people, often yelling, "Prostitute!" at women on the street who are wearing short skirts and makeup. He even yells at Almira's mom when she wears exercise gear around their house.

    There are references to pop culture which will date this book quickly, as will the cover photographs. The ending wrapped up a little too neatly for me.

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