Thank you to Raincoast Books for a copy of this book to review! I saw it in their preview and it piqued my interest and then I got a chance to meet the author at the OLA conference! I’ve got some time now to write reviews (finished an essay before the due date!) so here we go…
A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
Genre: YA Contemporary
A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.
Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.
This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.
I’ve talked a lot about this one on Twitter and Instagram because I can’t get over the beautiful cover! What you don’t see from the pic here is that the spine and inside cover have a leopard print, and the back of the book has a picture of the same model but only half her face with her glasses off. I love the colours and how unapologetically pink it is, a little insight into the MC’s attitude.
It took me a couple months to read this book because I had to keep putting it down to focus on school stuff instead. So it sat on my nightstand for a while before I finally had time to sit down for a long period with no distractions. But I really enjoyed it when I read it! The story is told through many different POVs, including Zarin and Porus (it starts with them as ghosts) and we’re able to slowly piece together all of these individuals’ lives and how they all came together.