Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Young Adult, Diverse, Contemporary

“While I am scared of what the future will bring, the uncertainty has been refreshing in a strange way. I know who I am in a way I never have before, and know what I’m willing to sacrifice to stay true to myself. I guess that’s not a bad lesson to learn at any age.”

Hana waitresses at her families restaurant, the only halal restaurant in her close-knit neighbourhood. Her dream is to share stories on the radio but for now, she pours her thoughts and dreams into an anonymous podcast. Now that she has a job she needs to dedicate time to, a new competing restaurant is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening Three Sisters. To make things worse a hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant.

This is a contemporary romance that touches on some serious and heartbreaking issues. As an Indian girl in Toronto, this book hit very close to home. Many people think because Toronto is a safe place, but just like most places, racists live here too. This book did a great job at showing insight into the modern Muslim/Brown experience without exploiting it. Hana was such a great character, so strong, brave, and thoughtful; her journey made me feel seen and understood. I am so happy to know that more people will get to read stories like this one.

The romance wasn’t a big part of the story even though there is romance. It was super light-hearted and cute, but I care much more about Hana’s personal journey. But with the topics covered I am happy that the romance wasn’t the focus. I honestly have no complaints about this book, it was very well written, thought-provoking and overall well done. I don’t want to say too much because I think everyone should pick this one up, you won’t regret it!

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