Emotion of Great Delight
by Mafi, Tahereh

2003: the US has officially declared war on Iraq, and the American political world has evolved. Hate crimes are on the rise, FBI agents are infiltrating local mosques, and the Muslim community is harassed and targeted more than ever. Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has dropped out of her life. And her heart is broken. Shadi devours her own pain, retreating farther inside herself until finally, one day,she explodes. - adapted from jacket

*Starred Review* Shadi has no intention of making waves. It's 2003: the U.S. has declared war on Iraq and hate crimes against Muslims are rising, so she knows it's better to keep her head down. Under the surface, though, she's a boiling sea. Her best friend has inexplicably dumped her, her brother has died unexpectedly, her father is gravely ill, her sister hates her, and her mother is barely keeping it together. No matter how much she may want to keep to herself, things will find a way to come out. Mafi follows her National Book Award-longlisted A Very Large Expanse of Sea (2018) with another contemporary young-adult novel of striking emotional intensity. Complex and introspective Shadi details her experiences with the specific challenges of Islamophobia and with more general issues related to friends, family, and the self during teenage years. With masterfully compelling prose, this surprises and ensnares, leading readers to an inevitable but gripping climax. Though there's a feverous feeling throughout the book, there's also formidable nuance in Shadi's paradoxical and contradictory thought patterns, which add even more to the frank realism. Hand to fans of Nina LaCour who are looking for emotional implications of great magnitude and stakes that could not feel higher. A bluntly powerful read that shouldn't be missed. Grades 10-12. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Shadi's life is slowly falling apart: Her best friend, Zahra, doesn't talk to her anymore, and her parents are dealing with grief and depression in the aftermath of her brother Mehdi's sudden death. It's 2003, and all of this is compounded by the hatred Shadi receives every day at school for being Iranian American and a hijabi. The lack of support leaves Shadi struggling to keep afloat. She's behind in her classes and exhausted because she often stays up at night listening to her mother's agonizing despair over losing Mehdi. Her father, once a healthy, fit man, recently had a second heart attack, and Shadi's sister, Shayda, has taken over running the house. Everyone is so mired in their own trauma and pain that Shadi, the youngest, often finds herself forgotten, both literally and figuratively. The expectation of keeping one's home life private and of separating the political from the personal are themes throughout the book. Woven through this story of trauma and resilience is a soft romance between Shadi and Zahra's brother, Ali. Mafi confronts issues of mental health, suicidality, racism, and self-love in ways that will leave readers reacting viscerally and powerfully. Reading this novel is like being dropped straight into the everyday lives of a Muslim family in postâ?"9/11 America. A simply real story, devoid of clichés, that will leave an indelible mark. (Fiction. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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