Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.
To the humans she lives among, she's just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she's learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar "sisters,"
Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all.
About the Author
Lori Goldstein was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. A former journalist, she currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband. Becoming Jinn is her first novel.
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By Lori Goldstein
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2015 Lori Goldstein
All rights reserved.
A chisel, a hammer, a wrench. A sander, a drill, a power saw. A laser, a heat gun, a flaming torch. Nothing cuts through the bangle. Nothing I conjure even makes a scratch.
I had to try, just to be sure. But the silver bangle encircling my wrist can't be removed. It was smart of my mother to secure it in the middle of the night while I was asleep, unable to protest.
Though my Jinn ancestry means magic has always been inside me, the rules don't allow me to begin drawing upon it until the day I turn sixteen. The day I receive my silver bangle. The day I officially become a genie.
I slam my newly acquired accessory against my bedroom closet, leaving a rounded indent on the wood door. The pristine, gleaming metal mocks me. For the rest of my life, I'll go where I'm told, perform on command, and do it all without question.
Barefooted, I can't kick the pile of tools without impaling myself. I settle for shoving the saw, but in the blade, a flash of gold reflects back at me. I've ignored the unusual sensation of hairs tickling my bare shoulders all morning ... the new tap, tap, tap of my nails against the conjured metal ... the hem of my pajama pants now flirting with my calf. Ignored just in case. Just in case this bangle wasn't here to stay. But even my talent for denial is no match for my curiosity when it's been piqued.
Standing at the bathroom mirror, my breath catches in my throat.
The deepening of my olive skin, the angling of my cheekbones, the lengthening of my torso. I've seen them all before. On my mother, who wears them like she owns them. Unlike me, who wears them like a rented Halloween costume.
I lay a finger on the bangle and push, watching it spin around my wrist. Somehow this thing stimulates my body to reach full maturity. As an inherently attractive species, this tends to make us Jinn ... well, hot. I'm pretty sure it's less a quid pro quo thing (thankfully, otherwise we Jinn would be the most shallow of species) and more an ancestral one, but then again, I'm not privy to the inner workings of the Afrit, the council that rules over our Jinn world.
I run my tongue along my bright white teeth and give thanks that my birthday falls during the summer. Not that I think the HITs (humans in training, aka teenagers) I go to school with would likely question this new and improved Azra Nadira staring back at me. Guess there are benefits to not being popular. Unlike other newbie Jinn, I certainly won't need to change schools or even incite hushed rumors about plastic surgery. For me, one or two fibs about a to-die-for stylist and an oh-so- talented makeup artist will do. Laughably out of character, of course, but, again, there are benefits to not being popular.
Inspecting all the ways my body has been altered while my mind was unable to resist, I note a distinct lack of curves remains. Seriously, a little va-va-voom here or there (and by "there" I'm talking to you, status quo B cup) was too much to ask?
I upend the basket next to the sink. A pair of nail clippers clanks against the marble counter, landing in between dental floss and a barely used compact of blush. I drum my nails, now as luminous as ten perfectly polished pearls, against the cold stone and brandish the nail clippers like a sword.
I knew this was coming. Click. I grew up knowing this was coming. Click. But still a part of me believed something would stop it. Click. Maybe my mother would finally realize I was serious. Click. I've been begging her to find a way around me having to become a genie since I was old enough to understand what the word "destiny" meant. Click. Maybe the Afrit would decide my well-honed lack of enthusiasm was an insult to the long line of Jinn from which I descend. Click. Maybe they'd take one look at me and realize that, for the first time in Jinn history, powers should skip a generation. Click.
I turn on the faucet and watch with satisfaction as the tips of the long nails that replaced my short ones overnight swirl around the basin and disappear down the drain.
A lock of my newly long hair falls across my eye. With a puff, I blow it aside and drop the clippers on the counter. Peeking out from under the overturned basket is the pointy end of a pair of scissors.
Running away was never an option. Snip. I found that out when I was ten, twelve, and fourteen. Snip. My Jinn blood is the equivalent of a permanent tracking device. Snip. And now it's not just my mother who can find me anywhere, anytime. Snip. The Afrit will be watching. Snip. If I refuse to grant wishes, if I screw up, if I expose our Jinn world to humans, I will be extracted from this human life I'm pretending to live. Snip.I'll be tossed in a cell deep inside the Afrit's underground lair where they sit, rubbing their hands together and cackling as they toy with us Jinn pawns. Snip. It's not a death penalty. Snip. As much as it may feel like it is. Snip.
A blanket of dark espresso hair surrounds my feet. I've sheared off the three inches that are new since yesterday and then some. The color, which morphed from mouse to mink while I slept, is an exact match for my mother's. That can stay. The sheen helps the choppy bob I've given myself look halfway decent.
They can make me grant wishes, but they can't dictate what I'm going to look like while doing it.
I splash water on my face and feel the length of my eyelashes. The gold flecks of my eyes have consumed the hazel. The new color is an exact match not only for the color of my mother's eyes but for the color of all Jinn's eyes. And I can't have that.
Lucky for me, my learning curve with this conjuring thing has been fast. One crooked wrench, one inoperable lighter, and one unrecognizable reciprocating saw preceded the plethora of tools turning my bedroom into a hardware store. And in all fairness, the mangled saw stems less from my lack of skill and more from my ignorance as to what a reciprocating saw actually looks like.
Just as I did when conjuring each tool, I steady my breathing, tune my ears to the beat of my heart, which pumps my Jinn blood at a rate closer to that of hummingbirds than humans, and close my eyes. In my mind, I form the perfect image of a pair of transparent contacts tinted dark brown.
An icy tingle snakes through my body. I shiver. My body craves heat. In all the ways I take after my mother—in all the ways I take after all Jinn—an intolerance for cold is the one that bothers me the least.
I concentrate until a bead of sweat forms on my upper lip and the slimy lenses float in a sea of saline in the palm of my hand.
Good-bye gold. Good-bye Jinn.
I plant my face an inch away from the mirror. With my index finger on my top lid and my thumb on my bottom, I create a larger bull's-eye for the brown contact. My first attempt sends the lens down the drain. After conjuring another one, I force myself not to blink. I'm successfully affixing the lens to my eyeball when I notice my fingernails are once again long. And red.
My hair shoots past my chin, flies down my neck, and leaves my collarbone in the dust. Post-bangle, pre-haircut, it barely skimmed my shoulders. It now lands mid-B—Wait, is that now an A?—cup boob. The gold of my eyes deepens and shimmers until my irises resemble balls of compacted glitter.
Apparently the Afrit can dictate what I look like. I dump the contact lenses in the trash and poke my finger in and out of the intricate carvings etched into the bangle. I wouldn't be surprised if one of these indents housed a tiny spy camera and the Afrit were really just a bunch of pervy Peeping Toms.
I dive into my bed and burrow under the soft down of my comforter, grateful for its instant warmth. Ignoring the sound of the dog barking outside, I drink in the sweet smell of the lilacs in perpetual bloom in our backyard and catch a faint hint of sea beneath the floral perfume. Our house is close enough that, when the wind blows a certain way, we can smell the ocean. It doesn't happen often, mostly because the windows are usually shut to seal in the warmth and the curtains are usually drawn to seal in, well, us.
I will myself to fall back to sleep. Even if I can't sleep, I can still choose to skip today.
All I have to do is stay in bed. All I have to do is not open my eyes. All I have to do is pretend. Fortunately, being skilled in pretending is another way in which I take after my mother, another way in which I take after all Jinn.
Turning toward the window, I breathe in the lilacs. Along with the fragrance comes the pollen. Along with the pollen comes the coughing. Along with the coughing comes the involuntary opening of my eyes.
Who am I kidding? I can't skip today. I don't have that kind of control. The bangle assures that I never will.
I crawl out of bed and shed my pajamas, dropping them on top of the drill. Of course the black tank top I pull over my head and down my newly elongated torso is too short. As I move, the hem plays a game of peekaboo with my belly button, an unintentional homage to the midriff- baring genies of fairy tales and fantasies.
I rummage through the top drawer of my bathroom vanity until I find an elastic and the pair of bug-eyed sunglasses my mother bought for me last year. I gather my hair into a ponytail and hide my gold eyes behind the tinted shades. It's summer. Well, almost summer. In New England, summer doesn't debut until July. And only if we're lucky. June is always a tease. Still, with tenth grade in the rearview mirror, I can camouflage my new look this way until school starts again. By then, no one will remember what I used to look like.
As if that's a valid concern. I could walk into calculus tomorrow with rainbow-colored dreadlocks and half the class wouldn't even blink an eye.
Being invisible is a trait I've learned all on my own.CHAPTER 2
The smell of chocolate fills my nostrils as I head down the stairs. The bracelet slides easily around my wrist but is in no danger of falling off. It doesn't have to be tight like a handcuff to achieve the same effect.
I linger in the kitchen doorway. My mother gathers her long hair with one hand and secures it into a bun with the other. The silk of her emerald kaftan glides across her body, accentuating her graceful movements and making them appear all the more effortless. She leans over our farmhouse table and pushes back her sleeves.
I wrap my hand around my silver bangle. It is identical to the one around my mother's wrist except for the color. Hers, like that of all retired Jinn, shines a deep gold. The same color as her—now, our—eyes.
"Happy birthday, kiddo." As she takes in my appearance, she shakes her head. "Nice touch with the sunglasses. Very movie star incognito. But the way you're strangling those pretty new locks is criminal."
I lower the shades so she can see my eyes rolling. Flipping the end of my ponytail, I say, "How else am I supposed to explain the sudden change in length? I'm not the type of girl to get hair extensions. I don't want people to think I'm the type of girl who would get hair extensions."
"Because they'll think you're vain? Or be jealous?" My mother laughs. "Believe me, they've been jealous all along. Yesterday, even I would have sworn you couldn't look any more beautiful." She smiles. "But I'd have been wrong."
Despite or maybe because of what I've seen in the mirror, I dismiss her compliment. It's actually my mother who has the capacity to stun. I've spent fifteen, no, sixteen years looking at her, and her beauty still catches me by surprise.
She returns her attention to her pastry bag and with a gentle squeeze pipes the second "a" of my name in gold icing. Azra. The letters shimmer atop the chocolate-frosted cake. I know from previous birthdays how sugary the combination is, but nothing's too sweet for us. Salt, we are sensitive to, but the amount of sugar we eat would incite comas in humans.
She underlines my name with a squiggle of gold. Then she pipes that loaded "16" underneath. The exclamation mark she adds causes me to use my long fingernails to scratch at the skin underneath my bangle.
"So," my mother says, "just in case your stubbornness kept you under the covers for the better part of the day, I scheduled the party for tonight."
The groan that escapes my lips is a reflex. She knows I don't want this party because she knows I don't want this birthday.
At least the guest list is short. It's not like I have any friends from school. Having to hide who we are from humans means our social circle consists solely of fellow Jinn.
My mother wanted to invite all five of the female Jinn who make up her Zar, the lifelong friends she calls her "sisters," and their daughters, who, once we all reach sixteen, will officially make up mine. But I negotiated her down to just Samara, my mother's best friend, and her daughter, Laila, whom my mother has been desperate for me to make my best friend since we were born. They're the closest I have to a family.
My mother then makes me promise to be good, like I'm turning six instead of sixteen.
"I'd appreciate it if you could dial down the attitude for the party," she says. "Laila hasn't turned yet. Let her be excited, okay?"
She sinks sixteen candles into the smooth icing, and I promise to try. But I know it's a promise I won't be able to keep. The only way I could is if the wish I make when I blow those candles out comes true and this band magically falls off my wrist. But I know better. Birthday candles, eyelashes, shooting stars, that's not how wishes are granted. Being selected by the Afrit, that's what makes wishing so.
Even if I don't get a birthday wish, I should be able to spend the day however I want, wherever I want. Sun, sand, and a book. Maybe mussels for lunch. Considering we live less than ten minutes from a four-mile- long sandy shoreline, that's a wish even a newbie genie like myself could easily grant.
"If the party isn't until later," I say, "we can spend the whole day at the beach, right?"
"We could," my mother says, "but I think we need to start practicing."
The perfectly decorated cake leaps from the counter, beelining for my head. My instinct to duck kicks in a second after my instinct to throw my hands in the air. The cake freezes, hovering three feet above the hand- painted Moroccan tile floor.
I walk a circle around it, amazed not that the mass of chocolate is floating but that I'm the one making it float. Unlike the magic I've been doing upstairs in my room, this just happened. It was automatic. Something engaged even before my brain could.
I admit it. Having powers doesn't suck. If only they didn't come with being told when and how to use them.
"Who needs practice?" I say with confidence, despite the quiver in my hands.
Crumbs fly and chocolate icing splatters the dark cherry cabinets as the cake plummets to the floor. The three-second rule doesn't even get a chance to be applied, for the cake reassembles in perfect form in less time than it takes to blink.
My mother smiles and places her hands on her curvy hips. "Practice? Certainly not me."
No, my mother doesn't need practice. She's been doing magic since before I was born. Since the day she turned sixteen, probably even earlier. The rules were different back then.
I wipe the single leftover dollop of brown off the kitchen table. As I suck the icing from my finger, my heart pounds. I have no idea how I summoned the magic that suspended the cake in midair or if I can do it again. I'm as curious as I am terrified to find out.CHAPTER 3
"Now, Azra, now!"
At this moment, my mother is the one terrified. With good reason.
Flames from the inferno I ignited lick the shelf above the fireplace, threatening to consume her collection of Russian nesting dolls.
"Concentrate like I showed you!" My mother springs back from the stone hearth as a flickering yellow flame paws at her foot. "Like you did before." She positions herself behind her favorite pumpkin-colored armchair, more willing to sacrifice it than her hand-beaded slippers. "With the cake."
Excerpted from Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein. Copyright © 2015 Lori Goldstein. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Before reading Becoming Jinn, I don't think I really had ever read a story involving Genies. I think the most experience I probably had with them was the Disney movie Aladdin. But there was something about this one that intrigued me, so when I was able to trade for an ARC of this book with another blogger, I took the chance. Then thankfully it got bumped way up on my TBR so that I could send it to yet another blogger who desired it for his collection (and I am very happy I helped it find its forever home where I know it will be loved and appreciated). And so, I read it. Actually, I devoured it. There was just something so wonderful about it that I had a hard time putting it down. Was it the story? Yes. Was it the writing? Yes. Just yes. Becoming Jinn is about Azra, a teenager who is Jinn. Reluctantly. This means that she is going to be forced into a world where she must grant wishes. But she doesn't get to grant just anyone's wish. She is under direct orders of who gets their wishes. Actually, pretty much everything she does is watched and governed by someone else. She has no say and she hates it. On top of that, she is supposed to keep the part of her that is Jinn a complete secret. She has "Zar" sisters and their mothers that she can turn to, but those relationships are iffy at best. And she can't really allow herself to become close to anyone who is human for fear of being discovered. So as you can probably already tell, I enjoyed this book a lot. I really liked the idea of a genie living among us, going to school like a normal kid, but still not being normal. And this story is actually quite complex! At first, you may not think it is going to be (I know I didn't) but the further I got into it, the more complex everything got. And now, here I am totally sucked into this story and world. Thankfully there is a novella that I plan to read very very soon. Oh, and the second book Circle of Jinn was released...today! Oh yay! Now I need to get my hands on that bad boy. I need to know how everything unfolds. NEED. This review is based on an ARC. All opinions are mine and mine alone. Find more of my reviews here: http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/
Got to meet Lori in person and she just like her book is amazingly talented and a joy to talk to! This is the first book of its kinds usually it's vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies but now it's Jinn
As someone with a healthy appetite for YA fiction, I’m glad I saved room in my tummy, er…library for this book! The main character is feisty and her Jinn sisters each have their own unique personalities that make for a fun read. If you like magic, love triangles, genie fashion, and wonderful storytelling, I recommend you pick up this book. The author set up the end of this book perfectly for the sequel, I can’t wait for its release!
As Jinn seem to becoming more and more popular, especially in the YA world, I find myself interested in seeing how each other takes on the mythology and makes it their own. However, Becoming Jinn did not quite live up to my expectations for the book. It took a while for me to get into it, although it did pick up at the end. What I Did Not Like: Well…Azra. My main issues with this book stemmed from the main character herself. Azra was not easy to get along with. While I realize I can’t relate to every character, and some are going to be unlikeable, at some parts Azra was too much. She was whiny and petulant, which made reading this from her POV hard. I realize that she has a right to be upset about being forced to be this thing that she does not want to be. But at the same time, she had 16 years to prepare for it, and yet she all of a sudden turned into a jerk about it. I also hated how she treated everyone around her, from her mom to her Zar sisters. There was also a love triangle-turned-square going on that seemed unnecessary. Although, I actually liked Nate, so hopefully he isn’t just a filler. Also, some of the nuances of actual magic using just seemed…sketchy. What I Liked: I did like the worldbuiliding. This was a very interesting concept, and I think it was executed pretty well. I also did like the secondary characters, from her mother to Henry to Laila, which made me feel all the more when Azra treated them badly. There were a lot of secrets, and hidden things, so we get to see those things slowly come to light, which added detail without info-dumping. Like I said, it did pick up toward the end, making me want to know what happened. Azra, for all her faults, does grow and mature, which was nice to see. Final Thoughts: There were some big things revealed at the end that caught my attention. Although I was unsure about continuing this series, between the ending and Azra’s changed behavior, I could be convinced to pick up the second in the series. I thought this was a great foundation for the world-building, and that this series has some great potential.
A contemporary book where one of her problems is magic. There were hints of fighting back against the evil Afrits, but most of the conflict was with Azra’s relationships. The Good: I enjoyed the culture and idiosyncrasies of the Jinn. (Like how they ate sweets constantly and didn’t like the cold.) These were cute touches. There is a love triangle! (I wish the one boy only liked her as a friend and she didn’t go into the jealousy thing,) But it wasn’t a totally obnoxious triangle. Both of her love interests were good, sweet guys. Her friend was my favorite character, but then again I have a thing for geeky guys. ;) Most of the fun parts of this book were between her and her geeky friend. I also liked the relationship between her Zar sisters. (Like when three of them wore mismatched bikinis but they all went together) The Bad: Jinn magic is pretty unlimited and Azra learns everything really quickly. Any problem she had with magic she created by acting stupidly. Though I liked Azra in this book I didn’t like her past self. (Her actions before the story takes place.) How she’d separated herself from everyone. That was part of the theme of this book though. Becoming Jinn has a strong theme concerning death and acceptance. (And it was obvious there was a theme.) This is sort of a spoiler (but I had to mention it) I don’t agree with the message of the ending, magically erasing grief. Point of View: First (Azra) Predictability: 4 out of 5 (Where 1 is totally unpredictable and 5 is I knew what was going to happen way ahead of time.) Source: Netgalley My Rating: 6/10 Stars
This book was ok. I have always loved books about genies (exquisite captive is a prime example,) but this book was really only meh. Azra was a likable protagonist, but the whole love triangle thing was annoying. It wasnt a huge part but still... i never really got into this book.
I love how this novel takes a different turn in the YA fantasy genre by exploring the Jinn world of genies. Right from the start, she sets up a story that needs some explanation and some history — it’s not the vampire or witch story in which so many of us can bring preconceived notions. And she gives just enough detail to spark intrigue and make you want to learn more about this unknown world. The author is spot-on with capturing the emotions and thoughts of teenagers, and she does so in a way that is charming, authentic, and funny. Azra, the 16-year-old protagonist, is witty and bold yet also vulnerable and scared, as she navigates her life with newfound powers. I especially loved the theme of how all kids, popular or not, have their insecurities and are just trying to find their path (and make true connections with others). The author is very good at planting subtle hints along the way that will eventually unfold into something far more important. As the story progresses, the pacing picks up, and you very much want to know more (I couldn’t put down the last third!), which helps set the story up as a series. I did NOT want to reach the last sentence … I wanted to keep going! And, finally, I can’t mention the last sentence without talking about all the author’s first sentences. She’s the queen of opening sentences — love them all. The first lines of each chapter push you right along to see where the story goes next. I can’t wait to read the sequel. *Note: the author is a personal friend of mine, but my review is an honest reaction.*
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!! I turned the last page and immediately wished I could perform magic and conjure the next book in the series. This is my first Jinn or Genie book. I love the supernatural element as well as it having a refreshing captivating. It was what I would imagine a modern genie to be. Smart, sassy and a great love for family. A wonderful debut novel by Lori Goldstein. Appealing, fun and hard to put down. I cannot wait to read more from the author!
While the characters are unique, they are very relatable. Pictyres are made vivid by the authors concise use of details and descriptions. This book really offers a more realistic approach on the fantasy Genies and their life. I love the book and so will other teens and young adults when they read this authirs truly remarkable writing style.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein Book One of the Becoming Jinn series Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication Date: April 21, 2015 Rating: 1 star Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): Forget everything you thought you knew about genies! Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick. What I Liked: The awkward moment when a book you're really excited to read totally disappoints you. One-star disappoint. I like this author, love the publisher, but the book fell flat on its face. Or cover. What I Did Not Like: I give up with spoiler warnings. Sometimes I say "THERE MAY BE SPOILERS" and then someone tells me, but your review was spoiler-free! And then I'll think that I didn't have any spoilers (and not put a warning), and someone will say, thanks for spoiling things! So I can't win. Read at your own risk. Apologies to anyone who thinks there are spoilers. I've through this review several times and I don't see anything that I would consider a spoiler - given the story. But I've had the advantage of reading the story already. Anyway. From the start, I didn't get a good vibe from the book. Initially, before I opened the book, I was EXCITED. Jinn-related books fascinate me. Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios and The Fire Wish by Amber Lough are two of my recent favorites. All jinn-related novels feature a jinn that has no control over his/her magic, a jinn that must grant wishes. This story is no different. Azra does not want to be a jinn. She wants to be human. When jinn girls are born, they are injected with something that makes them powerless. At sixteen, they get a silver bangle which allows them to access their dormant powers. Azra turns sixteen, and is officially a jinn. She will grant wishes of candidates sent by the Afrit (the ruling jinn family class thing). Azra doesn't want to be a jinn, doesn't want to get along with her Zar sisters, doesn't want her abilities. But she finds that she has more advanced abilities than just about every jinn. And she wants to use her abilities to help her neighbor, Henry, or her boy toy, Nate. The first thing that pissed me off was Azra's personality. There were a lot of things that bothered me, but two things really stuck out: her submissiveness, and her nasty attitude. Which seems like opposite things, right? She's submissive in that she lets her mother push her around ALL THE TIME. I get it - the Afrit are really controlling, you're supposed to bond with your Zar sisters, there are rules, blah blah blah. But let me use the birthday party example: Azra didn't want her Zar sisters (basically, her female peers, the daughters of her mother's Zar sisters) coming to her birthday party. She's not close with them like they are with each other, and she doesn't want to be. Okay, fine. Azra's mother says okay, no inviting them. Then she goes and invites them anyway. The thing is, that s*** wouldn't fly with me, jinn or human or whatever. And I thought that it wouldn't pass Azra either, because Azra was PISSED, but then she was like okay... and was furious, but relented. Honey. Please. If you don't want people you don't like to come over for your birthday, then they're not coming, or you're not staying. Grow a d*** backbone. That's a silly example, but a true one nonetheless. And then there was Azra complaining about EVERYTHING. She hates being a jinn. She hates granting wishes. She hates being forced to hang out with her Zar sisters. She hates her mother's Zar sisters. She hates the Afrit. She hates a girl at her job. She hates her bangle. SHE LITERALLY HATES EVERYTHING. I think the author was trying to go for the whole rebellious-free-thinking-feisty-protagonist bit, but it came off as whiny-b****y-ungrateful-protagonist. I figured Azra would go through some character development, but honestly, from start to finish, I didn't really see any major changes in Azra's behavior. Still selfish, still petty, still annoying. So annoying. I hated Azra's inner (and outer) voice. The thing is, if you hate your life, run away. If you hate the Afrit, start a rebellion. If you hate Yasmin (one of her Zar sisters), physically distance yourself from her. If you hate yourself, go cry about it and run away. I feel like so many problems could have been avoided if Azra thought things through or stopped moping. That's another thing - Azra is REALLY stupid. She does silly, impulsive things all the time, without thinking things through, without thinking of the consequences. She wants to jump right into things, without learning, without doing the heavy lifting. She wants all of the flare without all of the studying. It doesn't work that way, as she finds out. This girl is so idiotic, sixteen years old or otherwise. Let's talk romance. Ha. There IS a love triangle in this book. Henry, the neighbor who seems to "get" her, and Nate, the lifeguard (Azra works at a food place at the beach), who is hot and dorky and did I mention hot (apparently)? Lifeguards generally look good without their shirts on. Anyway. Love triangle. Messy relationships. Blurred lines. Stupid girl. So many cliches. It started out as if Henry was the definite love interest, but then Azra is in denial and convinces herself that they're friends (meanwhile, we all know Henry is in love with her). Azra is totally in lust with Nate, and he with her (though he also really cares about her, it seems). Azra is "with" Nate, but eventually realizes that she has feelings for Henry too. I mean, she got randomly jealous when she found Henry hooking up with a girl in his backyard. Ooookay... Hated the protagonist. Hated the romance. Hated the love interests. Well, actually, no. I really liked Nate. Henry, I did not like. Henry finds out certain things, and Henry is a five-year-old disguised as a seventeen-year-old. I kid you not, the boy has a maturity level of a five-year-old. I'm not sure he made one good decision in this book - except those pertaining to his little sister, Lisa. I'm not impressed with the fantasy aspect of this book. Everything seems either cliche, or irritating. For example, the Afrit forces jinn to make wishes. The Afrit use science to withhold the powers of female jinn under sixteen. The Afrit use DNA mixing (or something) to create more jinn babies - so I don't think sex or finding a mate is required, if I understand correctly. Basically, the Afrit is like a modern-day dystopia government, control reproduction, creativity, abilities, free thinking, free speech, privileges... cute, but not entirely creative, or enjoyable to read, or original. If I wanted to read a dystopia, I would. Instead, I was stuck reading this book thinking, are you kidding me?! Next thing you know, we'll be discussing uprisings and rebellions. HINT. Ahem. Dystopia, anyone? With a hint of (poorly written) fantasy. The story isn't that interesting. In fact, it's painful to read. Azra hates everything, and most of the story revolves around her either hating everything even more, or doing stupid things because she wants to not hate everything (but it backfires a bit). Azra thinks she's good stuff because she's got even more advanced powers than most jinn, and it makes her cocky. There are so many YA cliches in this book. The wannabe-feisty (but NOT feisty - instead, whiny) protagonist. The silly love triangle. The "chosen one" with superior abilities. The rigid, controlling government - and therefore, the rebellion (that the "chosen one" will probably join, and eventually, lead). The "choice" represented by the love triangle - one boys knows everything, one boy knows nothing. The protagonist's heritage (can't say more than that). The ending - ha. So many annoying cliches. This book is chock full of YA cliche after YA cliche. I could go on. But I won't. Would I Recommend It: I mean, obviously I didn't like this one, and I can't recommend it to anyone, but I won't discourage anyone from reading it (directly, anyway. This review is an indirect non-recommendation, I suppose). Read it and make your own decision - if you were already going to read it. If you've never heard of this one or had only just heard of it - don't bother. Read one of the other two jinn-related books I mentioned earlier in the review. Rating: 1 star. Meaning no disrespect or harsh feelings to the author, publisher, etc. but... this book wasn't a good one, and wasn't for me. I doubt I'll be reading the second one - I'm just not interested in it. Cliche story? I know how it continues, and ends.
From realistic, lovable characters to sweet romance to unbelievably amazing plot twists, Becoming Jinn will keep you turning the pages until the very end. I hadn't read any books with genies before, and I was a little hesitant. However, Lori has perfected the Jinn 'species' from their complex history to their present day conflicts. I'm afraid that she's set the bar for any future genie books extremely high. BECOMING JINN is a must read for 2015, a fantastic debut for Lori Goldstein.
Becoming Jinn is an absolutely incredible debut novel by Lori Goldstein. When I first heard it was about genies, I knew I had to check it out. The problem was was that it wouldn't be out for another year and a half. I had the privilege of becoming friends with Ms. Goldstein through Twitter, and then a few months ago she asked me to be a part of her Teen ARC tour. I was thrilled. The main character, Azra, is amazing, and I felt like she was my best friend immediately. I mean, a genie as a best friend, it can't get much better than that. Azra's love triangle is definitely not one sided for readers. I loved both Henry and Nate, though admittedly I loved Nate more, but another ARC reader was completely for Henry. There were so many fantastic quotes I wish I could share. I underlined and highlighted so much in that ARC. The pacing was perfect. There was never a dull moment, but there were times when the reader was still able to catch their breath while still having to turn the page. Becoming Jinn is truly fantastic. Lori Goldstein's writing is marvelous. I wanted the second book before I was even done with the first. Don't miss out on this beautiful book.
So I got to read this book as an advanced reader. I thought it was great. The characters were believable, and interesting, I felt like I could walk around the settings, and the relationships between characters were great. The main character is named Azra, a 16 year old girl, who is a jinn, better known as a genie. She only gains full access to her powers on her 16th birthday, and the book follows her, as she grows accustomed to her new life, new friends, and new interests. With a nice love triangle (Team Henry BTW) and a lot of sarcasm, this book is a lovely read. It comes out April 21st, so if you are looking for something to read around that time I highly recommend this book. I read it within 4 days, (so I guess you could say that it’s a page turner) and hopefully it will keep you up at night as well. So have fun reading this, when it comes out, because I hope that you will.
I had the privilege of reading an early copy of JINN, after the first 250 words of the novel caught my eye in a writing contest (and hence I insisted on seeing the rest). She had me from the first sentence. Mix her fantastic writing with a unique concept, rich Jinn history, and a rebellious but sensible heroine, JINN feels fresh all the way through, with some of the strongest character relationships I've ever seen. You won't want to miss this one. Excited to see this in print!