Zara’s family has waited years for their visa process to be finalized so that they can officially become US citizens. But it only takes one moment for that dream to come crashing down around them.
Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.
But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.
I’m exhausted from the burden of representing almost two billion people.
I wanted to love Zara Hossain Is Here; bisexual representation which also addresses immigration and racism? I was totally on board. Unfortunately, I found this narrative to be too safe and simple to appreciate the attempt.
So. Much. Happened. This book is only about 250 pages long, but there’s so much content I think it needed almost double that to actually be able to delve into these issues and strong emotions and feel them. Instead, everything seemed to happen at warp speed, and it felt like I was skimming these events, not living them with the characters. There are so many unexpected twists and turns, it felt like the book was struggling to find its voice, like even Sabina Khan was unsure of the direction and the intended message of the story.
Even the romantic relationship felt rushed and shallow. Rather than paying attention to her own relationship, Zara seems more concerned with whether or not her friends are dating. And with everything else going on in the story, the addition of a romantic storyline, regardless how limited, felt superfluous.
everything just sorted itself out in the dumbest way. I’m sorry, moving to Canada is not the solution to your American immigration problems. All the same issues you’re having with trying to sort out your American citizenship will still apply to your Canadian application. And while, yes, I fully support the choice of Canada over the US, it still doesn’t make any sense.