Title: All My Rage by Sahaa Tahir
Book Beginnings quote:
"The clouds over Lahore were purple as a gossip's tongue the day my mother told me I would wed."
“Each moment joins the next, a murmuration of starlings exploding out of the rafters of my mind and into the the heavens, moving as one, revealing a greater purpose.”
Lahore, Pakistan. Then.
Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Clouds' Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.
Juniper, California. Now.
Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding. (Publisher)
Review: Once, not too long ago, almost all I read was YA lit. Now it is rare that I choose to read YA books at all. But when I became aware of All My Rage something told me I had to read it. And I am glad I did. First it is told from the point-of-view of three Pakistani transplants: Misbah, who came to the US with her husband; Salahudin, Misbah's son and light of her life; and Noor, an earthquake survivor living in the US with her uncle, her only living relative. Salahudin and Noor find each other in first grade, misfits in the American school they attend and a deep friendship is formed. Their friendship is strong until a misunderstanding and a fight their senior year and they don't reconcile their differences until it is almost too late. In the meantime, both of their live start to unravel. The story is both heart-breaking and heart-mending.
The author, Sahaa Tahir, is a Pakastani-American best known for her fantasy series, An Ember in the Ashes and its sequels. All My Rage won the 2022 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. She immigrated from Pakistan as a child and lived in the Majave Desert area of California, where the book All My Rage was set. Though the story is not autobiographical there are some similarities with the author's life and with her characters' lives. The book is full of touchy topics, in fact Tahir opens the novel with a warning of trigger topics,: drug/alcohol addiction, sexual abuse; physical abuse, bullying and racism, and drug dealing. When asked, in an interview for the Daily Bruin (the UCLA Newspaper, where she graduated) what Tahir wants her readers to take away from her book. Her answer is very revealing about her own lived experiences:
"Having written for young people for years now, I would never dare to tell them what to take away from my book. However, I will say that I hope any reader who needs this book will find it. Any reader who needs to feel less alone, I hope they’re able to find this book. As a young person, I needed a book like this. That’s a huge part of why I wrote it."
This is an important and powerful book on so may levels. I highly recommend it.