Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Title: Ayesha At Last

Author: Uzma Jalaluddin

Pub Date: June 2019

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Title: The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas

Pub Date: 2017

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Title: Born a Crime: A stories from a South African childhood.

Author: Trevor Noah

Pub Date: November 15th, 2016

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Synopis from Goodreads:

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother: his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

I really like Trevor Noah in The Daily Show. And I really like memoir audiobooks narrated by the author. So this book was just a perfect pick for me. Trevor shares with us an amazing story of childhood so much different than anything I know. He was born in South Africa when interracial relationships were illegal, but his mother was fearless and she wanted a child. She asked her white friend for that child. She was relentless so she got that child. So Trevor was born into a black family, but he was coloured. He wasn’t black and he wasn’t white. And at that time how you looked and what colour your skin was crucial. The whole system was based on that. There were towns where black people lived, where white people lived, coloured, Indian, Asian. How you lived and what you were allowed to do was based on how you were classified racially.

The story of Trevor’s childhood is centred around his mother. She is the true hero of his story and we learn so much about her. Trevor tells us about tough choices she had to make, about her stubbornness and fearlessness. She’s truly amazing women, and it was thought to listen to what happened to her at some time in her life. She’s extremely strong.

You can learn a lot while reading this book. It tells a story of life in the aftermath of apartheid. It shows us how hard it is to judge someone who committed a crime. How unjust world is. But the story also has its light moments. It’s not all serious. Trevor’s mother lessons about women and romance are very good. Stories of Trevor’s romantic endeavours are quite funny, cute and a bit sad.

Darktown by Thomas Mullen

31020461Title: Darktown

Author: Thomas Mullen

Pub date: September 13, 2016

Honors:    

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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Before reading this book I didn’t realize how insulting and degrading a word ‘boy’ can be. I’m so glad that I finished this book, because this is not an easy read. It is very much worth reading, but it is quite exhausting for a reader. Why? Mainly because the amount of racism and hypocrisy in this book is through the roof, and I was constantly angry at the characters, and I wanted to strangle them, which will lower me to their ways.

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Underground Airlines by Ben Winters

27245614Title: Underground Airlines

Author: Ben H. Winters

Pub Date: July 5th, 2016 (US)

Honors:  

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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This book really surprised me. I was not expecting such a fast paced alternative history thriller with a bit of sci-fi at the end.

Alternative history of United States, we are in Indianapolis where we meet Jim, or Victor or what he’s name at a given time is, who is trying to infiltrate an organization The Underground Airlines. He’s a free black man, that is searching for an escaped slaves from the states with legalized slavery, the Hard Four, where slavery is legal and very much in use. He lives in a completely different version of our modern world, where slavery is either accepted or practiced, but overall legal.

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The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

the summer that melted everythingTitle: The Summer That Melted Everything

Author: Tiffany McDaniel

Pub Date: July 26, 2016

Honors: 

My Rating: ★★★★★

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The heat come with the devil. It was the summer of 1984, and while the devil had been invited, the heat was not. It should’ve been expected, though. Heat is, after all, the devil’s name, and when’s the last time you left home without yours?

Those opening lines should be enough reason for you to start reading this book, but if you still not sure, let me tell you how fantastic this book is.

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