Zara Hossain Is Here

Scholastic Audio Books. 2021. 540p. $24.99. ISBN 9781338637632.
Gr 7 Up–Making her solo audiobook debut, Richa Moorjani affectingly channels Zara Hossain, a Corpus Christi, TX, high school senior who stands up to Tyler Benson, the school’s football star who’s also a racist bully. After Zara refuses to stay silent while Tyler and his cronies hassle a new student from Colombia, Tyler’s hate lands as vengeful graffiti on Zara’s locker. When his golden-boy status can’t save him from suspension, he retaliates with a middle-of-the-night trespass at Zara’s house. Her pediatrician father impulsively rushes out to Tyler’s home, but the confrontation ends with a gunshot. Suddenly, the eight years that Zara’s family has spent waiting for their green card approval could amount to nothing. Her parents can’t imagine feeling safe ever again and are ready to return to Pakistan. Zara, however, refuses to stop fighting for justice. Moorjani effortlessly moves between generations and cultures with comfortable familiarity, drawing on her own Indian American background.
VERDICT Fans of Samira Ahmed, Tahereh Mafi, and Randa Abdel-Fattah will find Khan’s powerful work timely and affecting.

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