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A Girl Like That

Review

A Girl Like That

A GIRL LIKE THAT starts off with a bang, as the very first chapter is the car crash that kills Zarin and another important character in the book, Porus. Then, throughout the rest of the book, Zarin’s story is told from the points of view from other characters like Porus and Mishal, who is another girl at Zarin’s school. Sometimes, multiple points of view can be extremely confusing. However, in A GIRL LIKE THAT, they were incredibly valuable. Each POV told a distinct and important story that made the book what it was.

"Tanaz Bhathena’s A GIRL LIKE THAT truly, wholeheartedly blew me away."

Tanaz Bhathena’s A GIRL LIKE THAT truly, wholeheartedly blew me away. I had no idea going into the book how powerful it would be, and how much I would love it. At times it was hard to read, as the main character, Zarin goes through awful things such as domestic abuse and sexual assault. She is seen as a girl you “don’t want to be like.” Other girls spread rumors about her, judge her and never let her into their friendship circles. Meanwhile, at home Zarin has to deal with her abusive aunt and complicit uncle, as she is an orphan. Something I appreciated about this book is that it doesn’t take place in America, but in Saudi Arabia. Reading books outside of what you already know can be extremely valuable.

The character writing and development in this book is phenomenal. Each character has their own voice, their own story. Even when Zarin makes decisions that may not be the best, I was still rooting for her. I fell in love with her and wanted so much better for her. I even found myself caring for Mishal, even though she was not the main focus of the book, because her story mattered too. While she didn’t understand what Zarin was going through, Mishal also had to deal with having an absent mother and an older brother with sexist friends. A book that makes you love the characters as if you know them is a great book.

As far as writing in general, that is great as well. Bhathena used such descriptive and creative writing that I actually felt like I learned a bit about writing from this book. Scenes were so vivid, with amazing imagery that made me feel like I was really there. Tanaz Bhathena is truly a beautiful writer. The plot, characters and writing style blended seamlessly together to tell a story of loss, prejudice and finding your place in the world. The story dissects important aspects of sexism, and while this story takes place in Saudi Arabia, I think those lessons are still relevant no matter where you live in the world.

A GIRL LIKE THAT dealt with very heavy issues and told them in important, impactful ways. I believe this book is important and needs to be read by more people. So many stories are told at once, and each one left an impact on my heart. It has become a new favorite of mine, and knowing a book you are reading is a new favorite while you’re reading it is the best feeling ever.

Reviewed by Jessi H., Teen Board Member on March 14, 2018

A Girl Like That
by Tanaz Bhathena