Thursday, June 7, 2018

Review: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Title: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road
Author: Sheba Karim
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: June 5th, 2018
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Won
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The summer after her freshman year in college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala and religious but closeted Umar. But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what better escape than New Orleans? 

 The friends pile into Umar's car and start driving south, making all kinds of pit stops along the way--from a college drag party to a Muslim convention, from alarming encounters at roadside diners to honky-tonks and barbeque joints. 

 Along with the adventures, the fun banter, and the gas station junk food, the friends have some hard questions to answer on the road. With her uncle's address in her pocket, Mariam hopes to learn the truth about her father (and to make sure she didn't inherit his talent for disappearing). But as each mile of the road trip brings them closer to their own truths, they know they can rely on each other, and laughter, to get them through.

Mariam, Umar, and Ghaz are three teens who have been emotionally damaged and scarred by their parents in very different ways.  Each of them, finding friendship and loyalty in each other, decide to go on a spontaneous road trip.  Along the way- like any good road trip story- the characters find themselves and come to realize that what they've got and who they are is better than what they've been chasing their entire lives.

Mariam's father abandoned her family when she was only two years old.  She's always wanted to know more about him, but her mother erased him from their lives.  She never even spoke much of him.  Umar comes from a very religious Muslim family, but he's gay and doesn't know how to fulfill that part of his life openly when he knows he would likely be disowned if he ever came out to them.  When Ghaz gets in trouble for a risque photoshoot, Mariam and Umar come together to rescue her, Rapunzel style.  They hit the road with one destination in mind: New Orleans.  With a car, your best friends, and a set of fake IDs, anything is possible.

I loved the character dynamics and the topics that this books touched on.  Mariam and her friends learn that you don't always need the traditional idea of a family; they're each other's family.  Racism and Islamophobia is present in this book as well, which I haven't gotten the chance to experience in many YA books thus far.  Going on a road trip through the south, you come across the narrow-mindedness of some, but can be pleasantly surprised by the understanding of others and I felt that this was an important lesson in this book.

Overall, I loved every second of Mariam Sharma Hits the Road!  There are great friendships, personal growth, and a ton of hilarious one-liners.  I especially enjoyed the fact that I'd been to a few of the locations mentioned in the book on a road trip of my own a couple years back.  It felt like I could relate to the characters even more!  I would definitely recommend to anyone in all walks of life, because it's a very relatable and heartwarming story.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this one too. Road trip books don't always have a lot of plot, but I agree that the characters in this were really fantastic.
    Jen Ryland Reviews