Mini Reviews — A Middle Grade Fantasy Explores Grief, A Political Dystopian Intrigues, And A Paranormal Romance Entertains

Furthermoor by Darren Simpson Bren is still grieving the tragic loss of his sister Evie and has numbed himself while going through the daily routines of home and school. Simultaneously, the school bully, Shaun, preys on the saddened Bren while also marking down a new kid. Bren is happy he at least has an imaginary…

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“I wanted a brown kid at the center, the protagonist of her own life, abolishing the misconstructions society has of Desis and Muslims”

In July 2022, a debut novel set in rural Pakistan and centred around a young Muslim girl will whisk away readers into a magical palace in the jinn world. In this mysterious world, a rich heritage and the chilling reality of child labour will be shown. And Nura is a protagonist everyone would cheer for…

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“I honestly don’t think it’s possible for me to write a story that doesn’t have a healthy dose of family drama”

A young Muslim girl joins a boy band at her new middle school to fit in while navigating faith, family, and friendships. Pitched as Julie and the Phantoms meets Amina’s Voice, this middle-grade story is sweet, powerful, and joyous. Published in October 2021, Barakah Beats takes readers on a journey where love for music and…

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“An Urdu phrase I loved including was ‘aaj jaane ki zidd na karo,’ which…loosely translates to: today, don’t insist on leaving”

A spoiled princess who fiercely loves her family and people is challenged by circumstances to become more while also being romantically intrigued by someone who’s forbidden—an intriguing ambassador. Pitched as a Pakistani-inspired retelling of The Lady or the Tiger, this fantasy brings forward a stunning culture, fascinating court politics, and an angst-filled love story. Published…

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Mini Reviews — Two Middle-Grade Books, Two Contemporary Romances, And A Translated Fiction

A Mystery at Lili Villa by Arathi Menon Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers meets Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew in this small-town mystery set against the beautiful backdrop of Kerala, India. For a desi kid, summer vacations are more than school holidays: they’re the perfect time for meeting up with distant family, delicious food, running wild while the elders napped in…

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