A Girl Like That by Tanaz BhathenaA Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

A Girl Like That

byTanaz Bhathena

Hardcover | February 27, 2018

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A Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Book of 2018
A Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book of 2018
An Ontario Library Association White Pine Award Shortlist Pick
A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book for Teens
A New York Public Library Notable Best Book for Teens
A Times of India Best Fiction Title of 2018

A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.

"Fascinating and disturbing." -Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time

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; 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.

TANAZ BHATHENA was born in Mumbai and raised in Riyadh, Jeddah and Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in various journals, including Blackbird, Witness, and Room Magazine. A Girl Like That is her first novel.
Title:A Girl Like ThatFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 8.37 × 6.25 × 1.24 inPublished:February 27, 2018Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0374305447

ISBN - 13:9780374305444


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great story This tragic love story begins at the end. Zarin and Porus are killed in a car accident right at the beginning. The rest of the book looks back on their relationship and how they ended up in the car together. I loved the way that Zarin’s character reflected the society she lived in. She would break the rules because she was so restricted, but her punishments meant she was given more restrictions. She didn’t have much control over her life, but she did extreme things when she could decide for herself. For example, she snuck around with the wrong type of boys. When she found one who was good, she didn’t love him. She smoked cigarettes, which made her an outcast in her classes. She didn’t have many on her side, even at home. This story was set in Saudi Arabia. I’ve never read a book set there, so this was a new experience for me. One thing that stood out to me was the religious police. They would go and question any boy and girl found together and they would have to prove they were siblings. Right at the beginning, when the car accident happens, the first thing the police comment on is why Zarin and Porus were in the car together. It’s more important for them to learn why they were together, rather than the fact that they died. In those situations, even innocent encounters become dangerous. I really enjoyed this story. I’m looking forward to reading Tanaz’s next book, The Beauty of the Moment.
Date published: 2019-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Important, Special Read *4.5 star rating* A Girl Like That was a shock. That is probably the most important sentence I will state in this entire review, as it's the complete and utter truth. I was really excited about reading it, as I heard about the book through a blogger event held by Raincoast Books, the book's Canadian publisher. However, when I began reading it, I automatically felt as if it would be disappointing. All of the perspectives got me really confused from the first few pages, and I didn't understand what the purpose of the story would be. From its summary, I was aware that this wouldn't be a typical contemporary story, and I was aware that it did produce a ton of emotions in readers. However, I was not ready for this story to showcase the struggles of females in the Middle East, due to the harshness of governments and laws. I did not expect to adore this as much as I did, either, as I was really confused for the first fifty pages or so. I expected this to be about the car accident in which the protagonist, Zarin, and the male character, Porus, end up in, however, Bhathena's story is really about what leads up to this accident. And, it really helps us answer the book's main question: who is Zarin Wadia? Who is she really? So, as mentioned, this story follows Zarin Wadia, a sixteen-year-old girl living in Saudi Arabia. She is an orphan living with her strict aunt and uncle, and is not native to Saudi Arabia, as she is Parsi. Throughout the novel, we readers see her outlook on life as she encounters many relationships with boys, exploring her femininity and personality. However, when she meets Porus, who also comes from the same culture as Zarin, she is intrigued with him in a different way than most boys, which leads to them both being killed in a car accident. This story shows us readers what happened before this accident, and what major event stirred this. A day after I closed the book's spine, I still cannot get the characters and story out of my mind. I cannot help but wonder what happened next, and how each of the characters were doing in reality, as if they existed. Tanaz Bhathena did an outstanding job at creating three-dimensional characters who seemed so realistic. This rarely happens in novels, though Tanaz successfully achieved this, and I felt as if they were so real. I cannot wait to see what other ideas the author has in mind, and to see if her future stories will be similar to this one. I found the book to be quite fresh, in the sense that I finally found a story which took place somewhere else other than America or Canada. (Though honestly, Canada's even difficult to find). I learned so much about the Saudi Arabian/Middle Eastern culture through this story, and I wish that more YA authors would pick up on this idea and continue the legacy which this author has begun. THIS BOOK JUST SCREAMS OUT FEMINISM. Our protagonist, Zarin, is a true advocate for women's rights, and based on the tragic event that happens to her in this story, there is no better way to build on feminism than the way Tanaz Bhathena did. Zarin was so kick-butt and memorable, unlike many of the weaker females I've read about who let boys take advantage of them. The relationship she developed with Porus was a rare one, that's for sure. How often are we readers truly able to see a relationship blossom through friendship? They usually form very quickly from characters seeing each other for the first time -> flirting -> dating. NOT IN THIS CASE. Thank you, astonishing author, for defying the stereotypes It is time for more diverse books in the YA genre. Sure, we do get our fair bunch, but I find that those books usually fall under the fantasy/sci-fi genre. A Girl Like That was a difficult book to read, in that it messed with my emotions and really was devastating. It's an important read for everyone to pick up, as it touches upon many tough issues that need more addressing. Grab this one and love it with all of your heart. *An advanced review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*
Date published: 2018-07-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay While I enjoyed this novel, I found it a little slow and the chapters seemed to drag on a little. However, I did like reading about a culture that I am unfamiliar with and learning a little bit from that. I also think the novel holds important messages.
Date published: 2018-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Brilliant and tragic. Even though the two main characters are dead from the first page, this novel will pull you in and have you sobbing for them when they finally die.
Date published: 2018-04-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh This was so hard to read because of its topics and because most the book was just really boring. There are multiple perspectives which I usually enjoy but I felt some weren’t necessary. I don't know, there’s also something about how the book is structured that made it hard for me to read. But by the end of the book I did start to enjoy it a little bit and connecting to the characters.
Date published: 2018-04-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from The Worst Book I've Ever Read Terrible and offensive, rife with misogyny and islamophobia. Don't read.
Date published: 2018-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eloquent, Real, Beautiful, Tragic I first met Tanaz Bathena on Instagram, when she followed by #bookstagram account and upon discovering her profile, I read the Publisher’s Weekly announcement for her debut novel and I KNEW that it was something I NEEDED TO READ. I read this book over the course of a week, and it was poignant and beautiful and it really hit home for me on multiple levels and easily one of the BEST books I read this year. Let’s break it down: WRITING: Told through multiple points of view, A Girl Like That eloquently portrays the lives of teenagers living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with honest, unflinching prose that will haunt you long after you’ve put it down. Even though this was only Tanaz Bathena’s debut novel, I felt everything she wanted me to feel – the fear, the sense of inequality, the sadness, the anger and the joy – and it was experience like no other. IDEA: I’ve been RANTING on Twitter to anyone who will hear me about how much I NEEDED to read this book before I actually got my hands on it all because it SOUNDED SO BRILLIANT. Like, honestly, just read that synopsis and tell me you’re not intrigued. PLOT: The structure of the plot was unconventional, to say the least. And by that I mean that not only was this book not told in a chronological manner, but throughout its varying viewpoints, we learn stories from the past and present of each of the main characters; stories that shaped them, and it’s done in such a beautiful manner. A Girl Like That slowly constructs and deconstructs its diverse cast of characters in a heart breaking manner that will leave you SPELLBOUND. I loved that this had so many points of view – Zarin, Porus, Farhan and Mishal, because it really pieced every heart breaking part of this story together. CHARACTERS: I absolutely loved Zarin and Porus. I loved Zarin’s need to be someone more and her need to break the shackles keeping her down with her rebellious streak. I wanted to reach in and hug her for the things life had put her through and I absolutely loved that Porus was there with her for it all. Porus was a GEM of a human being. With rantings on true love and loyalty so fierce, I loved how Zarin and Porus worked together and how right they were for each other at the moment. All the girls in this book, in one way or another were fighting for independence, fighting for individuality and also just to be equal in a society that does everything to push them down and everybody’s story was beautiful in its own way. CONCLUSION: This book was BETTER than I expected it would be, and I expected a LOT from it. A poignant, heart breaking, diverse book on love, life and death; a harsh look into society in the Middle East and the beautiful, broken lives of girls living there.
Date published: 2018-03-27

Editorial Reviews

"Bhathena makes an impressive debut with this eye-opening novel . . . Should spur heated discussions about sexist double standards and the ways societies restrict, control, and punish women and girls." -Publishers Weekly, starred review"Bhathena's lithe prose effortlessly wends between past and present . . . A powerful debut." -School Library Journal, starred review"Featuring a diverse cast of Arab and South Asian characters of various classes and faiths, the story is a gripping and nuanced portrait of how teens, both boys and girls, react to patriarchy. . .a fast-paced, fascinating read about a community rarely seen in young adult novels in the West. A refreshingly nuanced narrative about gender in the Middle East." -Kirkus Reviews"Shines a light on a girl caught between global modernity and traditional mores." -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"With her debut novel, written in a chorus of voices, Bhathena enters the YA scene with a bang, writing complicated characters with mastery and nuance . . . Bhathena writes her elegant, lyrical sentences with command, and though there's certainly tragedy in Zarin's haunting story, there's plenty of hope, too." -Booklist"A Girl Like That is unlike any YA book I've ever read: a fascinating and disturbing glance into the gender discrimination and double-standards as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl in Saudi Arabia. It raised awareness for me, and is certain to inspire discussion and raise questions about equality, justice, and basic human rights." -Jodi Picoult, #1 NYT Bestselling Author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time"Tanaz Bhathena has a rare ability to take a setting that would be unfamiliar to many and make it so instantly and profoundly relatable. This is a shimmering, glowing, radiant novel." -Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King"Vivid, intricately woven, and wholly immersive, A Girl Like That is a debut that will leave you both haunted and hopeful. Tanaz Bhathena is masterful at writing complicated girls and the people in their orbits." -Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts"Masterfully constructed and gorgeously written, A Girl Like That is both a page-turner about a ferocious girl fighting the twisted expectations of both family and culture, and a thoughtful meditation on the pain that weighs us down, and the love that lifts us up." -Laura Ruby, Printz Award-winning author of Bone Gap