Posts Tagged 'California'

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Salahudin and Noor were best friends growing up, but when Noor expressed an interest in pursuing a romantic relationship things took a bad turn and they haven’t spoken much since. Salahudin’s mother has missed having Noor around and has been trying to get them to reconcile ever since. Salahudin’s mom is very sick and his dad is an alcoholic, which makes running their small hotel a challenge. When Noor relents and goes to visit Sal’s mom she is shocked to find her health has declined rapidly. She accompanies her to the hospital and fears the worst. Meanwhile, Noor is expected to work every hour she’s not at school at her uncle’s convenience store. He is not kind to her and blames her for the fact he had to quit college and raise her when her family was killed in an earthquake in Pakistan. He wants her to work at the store after high school so he can go back to college, but Noor wants more for her future even though she feels she does owe him for taking her in. The death of Sal’s mom brings him and Noor back together and Sal starts to realize that Noor is dealing with a lot at home and he isn’t sure how to help her. He’s also terrified they are going to lose the family business and contemplates taking some ill advised measures in order to keep that from happening. As Sal and Noor grow closer it becomes apparent that both of them are keeping secrets from the other and when they all come spilling out they are forced to deal with the terrible aftermath. Can they find a way to be together after everything that has happened? Can they make peace with a future they didn’t expect or plan?

This story connects the characters to the reader in a way that many readers will not expect. It’s easy to sympathize with the situations both Sal and Noor find themselves in and it’s easy to see why they would make questionable decisions based on the reality they have to deal with every day. Both characters want a good future for themselves, but also care about those around them which makes them very likable and believable high school students. Forgiveness is an important element as well because it’s the only way to relieve some of the anger and rage they have been dealing with due to their overall frustrations with their difficult lives. Poverty is another theme that is prevalent throughout and is written in a way that shows many of the myths about poverty are simply not true and it can happen to hardworking people who are trying their best. Finally, there are some great cultural references to the Pakistani community living in California and some of the challenges that brings. This is an Iowa High School Award Winner for 2023-24 and is highly recommended.