FICTION

The Beauty of the Moment

368p. Farrar. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374308445. POP
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Gr 8 Up–Told in alternating viewpoints, this is the story of two teenagers who seemingly have nothing in common. For Susan, the new student in Canada from Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, failure is not an option. Make the highest grades. Marry a good Malayi Christian boy. Get a degree in engineering or medicine. Take advantages of the opportunities available in Canada. Art is a hobby not a career. These are the messages that are constantly drilled into Susan's head. The messages for Malcolm, who is Parsi Canadian and a known troublemaker, are different: Stop smoking. Get over your cheating ex-girlfriend. Stay out of detention. Give your stepmom a chance. Ignore your father's taunts. Despite their differences, they fall for each other. As they become closer, Susan yearns to spread her wings and Malcolm longs to trust someone. But when Susan's attempt to assimilate into her new home goes awry and Malcolm's bad boy reputation nearly shatters his hope at a new love, everything they have known to be true is turned upside down. While it has the trappings of the usual first love story tropes, the writing is by turns upbeat, mature, and complex.
VERDICT Fans of Nicola Yoon's The Sun Is Also a Star will enjoy this bicultural romance. A strong purchase for most YA collections, especially where contemporary romance is in demand.

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