Zara Hossain Is Here

Scholastic. Apr. 2021. 256p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338580877.
Gr 8 Up–High school senior Zara Hossain would prefer to be preoccupied with the cute girl in her social justice club instead of the nasty student at school who hurls racist comments at her. Zara’s nervous to mention the hateful behavior to her parents, especially as she and her family are anxiously awaiting the green cards they’ve been promised for years—which should be arriving within months. Soon tensions escalate and violence erupts, forcing Zara to wrestle with the emotional, legal, and political consequences of the incident. This is a heart-wrenching look at Dreamers and immigrants who establish lives in the United States that highlights what they leave behind, what they risk, and how living with an uncertain future can take a toll. Zara’s loving family and friends—the network the Hossains have formed during their years in the United States—are a highlight, making the choices Zara is faced with all the more heart-wrenching. This is an unblinking examination of identity, home, and where a bisexual Pakistani teen without a green card might fit in.
VERDICT This emotional look at belonging and identity will make readers consider what it means to be home. Perfect for fans of Erika L. Sánchez and Mitali Perkins.

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