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A Girl Like That

Tanaz Bhathena's young adult novel delves into the death of a girl, previously typecast as a troublemaker.

Tanaz Bhathena

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan and 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 18-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. 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. (From Farrar Straus & Giroux)

From the book

The wails Masi let out were so heart-wrenching, you would think I was her only daughter lying dead before her instead of the parasite from her sister's womb, as she had once called me. She should have been a professional funeral crier. Porus's mother knelt in a pool of his dark blood and joined Masi in a cacophonic duet. Masa was more somber. He dabbed his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt, took deep breaths, and tried to compose himself. The officer in charge of the accident scene told Masa that our corpses would be kept in a local morgue till arrangements for the funerals were made.


From A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena ©2018. Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux.

More about this book

q book contributor Jael Richardson gives us her recommendation of the week. Today, she'll discuss A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena. 7:15