Published by HarperCollins on May 9th 2017
Genres: Assimilation, Coming of Age, Friendship, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
This young adult novel by Sheba Karim, author of Skunk Girl, is a funny and affecting coming-of-age story for fans of Jenny Han, Megan McCafferty, and Sara Farizan.Shabnam Qureshi is facing a summer of loneliness and boredom until she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack. Shabnam quickly finds herself in love, while her former best friend, Farah, who Shabnam has begun to reconnect with, finds Jamie worrying.In her quest to figure out who she really is and what she really wants, Shabnam looks for help in an unexpected place—her family, and her father’s beloved Urdu poetry.That Thing We Call a Heart is a funny and fresh story about the importance of love—in all its forms.
*Review originally posted at YABC: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yafiction/21288-that-thing-we-call-a-heart*
Shabnam Qureshi is done with high school, ready to move on to college, and start a new chapter in her life. Her final high school weeks are filled with slip ups, mistakes, and lies, and Shabnam is ready to get away from it all. When she finds a job at a pie shack for the summer, everything changes. Shabnam meets Jamie, a cute boy who seems fascinated by her, and the two bond over poetry. However, Shabnam’s best friend, Farah, whom Shabnam has felt awkward around since Farah started wearing a headscarf, is suspicious about Jamie. As the summer unfolds, Shabnam will learn more about herself, love, friendship, and family.
THAT THING WE CALL A HEART is a beautifully emotional story that tackles stereotypes, first love, cultural norms, and more. Sheba Karim creates an easily relatable protagonist in Shabnam, a young woman who wants to fit in. What I love most about this novel is that it focuses on more than romantic matters of the heart. It delves into romantic love, friendship love, family love, and self-love.
I also love that Jamie isn’t a glaringly suspicious guy. His charm and attention makes it easy to see why someone could get a pretty big crush quickly. Yet, as Shabnam continues her journey, readers will see hints of something a little more selfish in him and the ways in which first love can create rose-tinted glasses. But most of all, Shabnam and Farah’s relationship is nuanced and complex, full of tense moments, heartfelt conversations, and a multifaceted exploration of what it means to be a true friend.
Overall, THAT THING WE CALL A HEART will have you laughing and crying in equal measure.