Salaam, with Love

Underlined. Jan. 2022. 272p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780593482629.
Gr 7 Up–A gentle story of faith, family, and love. Dua is a senior in high school, living in Virginia with her parents. She is currently trying to muster the courage to tell them she wants to pursue a career in music, something she fears they will disapprove of due to their traditional Pakistani values, which disregard piano as a college major. Right before Ramadan, the family goes to New York City to spend the holy month with Dua’s uncle, aunt, and cousins. She’s not a very religious person, being the only Muslim student in her high school, so she’s wary of the highly conservative views of her extended family. Dua faces the reality of Islamophobia in a big city and has to rethink how she wants to connect with God. Not only is her faith tested, but also her focus as she meets handsome Hassan, a family friend. This novel starts slow, but gently makes its way through the ins and outs of big families’ relationships. Dua is a relatable character, and her connection with each of her many cousins is very special. The discrimination thread is handled well, and readers outside of this faith will get a great glimpse into this month of devotion.
VERDICT Hand this book to fans of S.K. Ali’s Love From A to Z. A good purchase for YA collections, especially for libraries serving Muslim and Desi communities.

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