Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Review: More to the Story by Hena Khan

by Hena Khan
Middle Grade Contemporary
ages 8 to 12
272 pages

SEPTEMBER 3rd, 2019!!!

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes a new story inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic, Little Women, featuring four sisters from a modern American Muslim family living in Georgia.

When Jameela Mirza is picked to be feature editor of her middle school newspaper, she’s one step closer to being an award-winning journalist like her late grandfather. The problem is her editor-in-chief keeps shooting down her article ideas. Jameela’s assigned to write about the new boy in school, who has a cool British accent but doesn’t share much, and wonders how she’ll make his story gripping enough to enter into a national media contest.

Jameela, along with her three sisters, is devastated when their father needs to take a job overseas, away from their cozy Georgia home for six months. Missing him makes Jameela determined to write an epic article—one to make her dad extra proud. But when her younger sister gets seriously ill, Jameela’s world turns upside down. And as her hunger for fame looks like it might cost her a blossoming friendship, Jameela questions what matters most, and whether she’s cut out to be a journalist at all...


This is a lovely read about family, friends, siblings, first love interests, and chasing your dreams.

Jameela is a seventh grade girl, who has a loving family and a good head on her shoulders. But that doesn't mean life is simple. Her father is having trouble finding a job and must head across seas, leaving the rest of them alone. A boy her age, and family friend, moves to their town from Britain, with troubles of her own. While she's becoming good friends with him, her ambitions to because a great reporter for the school paper have her chasing him for an inclusive. And that might not go as planned. Add troubles with the head of the newspaper, regular life with her siblings (which isn't always smooth) and she's in for quite the time.

The author does a terrific job at introducing a wholesome family and bringing their situation to life in such a way that readers of this age group will easily identify with. Jameela is a girl with energy, determination, a big heart but that doesn't mean she feels secure in every situation or always knows what to do. The problems she faces are the type readers will recognize and sympathize with, and the solutions are realistic as well as nicely laid.

While the tale follows every day problems (more or less), it's never boring. Jameela has her plate full and not every problem is easy to solve. Her insecurities make her easy to like and fun to root for. Even her mistakes are simple to understand. The Muslim life weaves in seamlessly. This allows readers not only to learn more about the religion and culture, but doesn't take over the story. Readers from other religions and cultures can still identify with the characters and their issues without ever feeling pushed. It's simply well done. There are surprising twists and turns as well as humor built in, making it a fun read from start to finish, too. This is a read kids ages 8 to 12 are sure to enjoy and identify with.

And here she is...

Hena Khan is the author of several books including Amina's Voice; Power Forward; On Point; Bounce Back; It's Ramadon, Curious George; Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns; and The Night of the Moon. Hena lives in her hometown of Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and two sons. You can learn  more about Hena by visiting her website at HenaKhan.com

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