With a welcome mix of humor, heart, and high-stakes drama, Sabina Khan provides a timely and honest portrait of what it's like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture.
About the Author
Sabina Khan writes about Muslim teens who straddle cultures. She was born in Germany, spent her teens in Bangladesh, and lived in Macao, Illinois, and Texas before settling down in British Columbia with her husband, two daughters, and the best puppy in the world. Visit her online at sabina-khan.com.
Read an Excerpt
No parties, no shorts, no boys. These were my parents' three cardinal rules. But what they didn't know couldn't hurt them, right? I quickly changed out of my NASA pajamas and into my favorite black crop top and dark-blue vintage jeans, liking the way they accentuated my curves. According to Mom no one needed to know that I had boobs, much less a belly button, except for me, Allah, and my future husband. Of course, the whole "no boys" rule was a moot point in my case, but fortunately my parents didn't know about Ariana.
"Rukhsana, Mom's never going to let you out of the house wearing that."
Startled, I spun around to see my brother, Aamir, leaning lazily against my door frame.
"Knock much?" I said, quickly pausing the music playing on my phone.
"I did. It's not my fault you couldn't hear me over that screeching you call music." Aamir smiled as he sauntered into the room and plopped down on my bed.
Of course, my brother was right. I would never be allowed to go out wearing this. Which was why I was planning to throw on my oversized school hoodie to once again become the shapeless blob my parents preferred to think of me as.
"Aamir, you know this isn't my first rodeo." I ruffled his hair affectionately. "Plus, you always have my back, right?"
"Yeah, yeah, don't worry, I'll cover for you," Aamir said, pushing away my hand. He was very particular about his hair. "But it's going to cost you," he added with a grin.
"What do you want this time?" I pulled the bulky hoodie over my head.
"Something good. I haven't thought about it yet." He surveyed my outfit. "Ariana's going to run away when she sees you, but at least Mom will be happy."
I punched him playfully in the arm before going downstairs. The smell of chai led me into the kitchen, where I found the pot bubbling on the stovetop. I inhaled its spicy aroma deeply, allowing the cinnamon and cardamom to soothe my nerves. It was almost five o'clock, time to head over to Jen's house to finish getting ready for the party. But first I had to convince Mom to let me go.