Finished That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim. I received a copy for review.
Shabnam is maybe not the best person. She and her best friend are fighting, kind of, because Farah started wearing the hijab and Shabnam is hurt that she wasn’t informed beforehand. She’s Muslim, nominally (she doesn’t wear hijab, which is fine; that’s their choice—but she also doesn’t really do much of anything connected to their faith) but she’s also embarrassed by her extremely pious great-uncle when he visits. Anyway, then she meets and falls for Jamie, a very charming guy who gives her a job at his aunt’s pie shop…
I think this is a book that’s very hard to feel neutral about. If you need to love a main character to enjoy a book, this is not for you. I actively disliked her for most of the book (but grudgingly admit she redeemed herself somewhat at the end). I loved her former best friend Farah, though. She’s unapologetically herself and, though she wears a hijab, she also makes it a part of her unique style. I would’ve liked this more from her perspective, I think.
Even so, this is an interesting story and I would definitely read more from the author.