A unique debut novel by Tanaz Bhathena, A Girl Like That, is a fascinating and fierce story of young love, life, and death. The book grabs the reader from the first pages when you learn that the main characters just died in a tragic car accident. As they hover over the scene, they reflect upon their short lives and weave together a narrative that describes their short but impassioned time together.
While on the surface Bhathena offers a reminder of how complicated life can be for young people in general, she also delivers valuable glances into the specific concerns of girls in Saudi Arabia. Family stresses, school bullies, and first love are issues with which most of us can relate. Bhathena expertly brings her reader into these concerns from a Saudi Arabian expat perspective, which may be new for some. While the truth of gender inequality in Saudi Arabia and across the world is challenging to face, Bhathena’s vivid writing style is accessible and relatable.
An #OwnVoices book for Zoroastrianism and expat life, A Girl Like That draws you in from the beginning. It’s a quick and immersive read that I whipped through in days. Here’s hoping that stories like this, that portray the real lives and concerns of girls around the world, will continue to flow into YA and other genres. Tanaz Bhathena is part of a growing group of talented womxn writers leading this important wave and I can’t wait to see what she gives us next.
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