HarperCollins, June 2018
“This joyously exuberant tale will speak to readers who enjoy a blend of barbed humor and poignant reflection. An excellent choice for all YA shelves.” – School Library Journal, STARRED Review
“Mariam Sharma Nails the Fun Road Trip Vibe – For all of its facing of issues, Mariam Sharma feels like a celebration of being young and on the road with good friends by your side…a fast read that’s fun, political, and the perfect addition to a summer travel bag” – NPR
“Sheba Karim has done it again! Funny, heartwarming, and achingly real, Mariam Sharma Hits the Road is the road-trip novel everyone needs to be reading right now.” – Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi and From Twinkle, With Love
Mariam Sharma Hits the Road is hilarious and heartfelt, powerful, tender, and so much fun. Karim’s writing is like a jolt of electricity on the page, leaping with truth and a perfectly dark humor…This is a beautiful book that’s destined to become a road trip classic.” – Margo Rabb, author of Kissing in America.
The summer after her freshman year in college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala and religious but closeted Umar. But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what better escape than New Orleans?
The friends pile into Umar’s car and start driving south, making all kinds of pit stops along the way–from a college drag party to a Muslim convention, from alarming encounters at roadside diners to honky-tonks and barbeque joints.
Along with the adventures, the fun banter, and the gas station junk food, the friends have some hard questions to answer on the road. With her uncle’s address in her pocket, Mariam hopes to learn the truth about her father (and to make sure she didn’t inherit his talent for disappearing). But as each mile of the road trip brings them closer to their own truths, they know they can rely on each other, and laughter, to get them through.
HarperCollins, May 2017
ISBN 10: 0062445707
Best Teen Contemporary Teen Read of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews
Best Teen Novel with a Touch of Humor – Kirkus Reviews
Amelia Bloomer Best Feminist Books for Young Readers – American Library Association
Bank Street Best Books of the Year
Best Books of the Year – Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2018
“Populated by complicated characters who are so well described readers will feel they might bump into them on the street, Karim’s second novel delivers on its title’s promise.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review
“Shabnam’s relationship with Jamie…is realistic and heartfelt, but the real resonance lies in her hard-won reconnection with Farah and her new consideration of her father and her mother, who emerge as compelling and dimensional characters. Ultimately, this is a warm-hearted story that may encourage readers, like Shabnam, to find possibilities in greater human connections..” – Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, STARRED Review
“The contrast between Shabnam (a typical, suburban teen from a nonpracticing Muslim family) and Farah (who melds her punk and religious sensibilities) is thought-provoking and realistic. Additionally, the story touches on the Bosnian genocide, provides a lovely introduction to the beauty of Urdu poetry in translation, and includes a diversity in characters needed in YA novels. Fresh, funny, and poignant, Karim’s novel is noteworthy for its authentic depiction of a Pakistani American teen coming of age and falling in love.” – Booklist
When Shabnam Qureshi’s feisty best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf, it begins to unravel their friendship. After telling a huge lie about a tragedy that happened to her family during the Partition of India in 1947, Shabnam is ready for high school to end. She has a plan: Get through the summer. Get to college. Don’t look back. Begin anew.
Everything changes when she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack, and meets her there every afternoon. Shabnam begins to see Jamie and herself like the rose and the nightingale of Urdu poetry, which, according to her father, is the ultimate language of desire. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating—her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but Farah finds Jamie worrying.
With Farah’s help, Shabnam uncovers the truth about Jamie, about herself, and what really happened during Partition. As she rebuilds her friendship with Farah and grows closer to her parents, Shabnam learns powerful lessons about the importance of love, in all of its forms.
Set against a backdrop of Radiohead and the evocative metaphors of Urdu poetry, THAT THING WE CALL A HEART is an honest, moving story of a young woman’s explorations of first love, the value of friendship, and what it means to be true.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR, March 31, 2009
If Nina Khan were to rate herself on the unofficial Pakistani prestige point system – the one she’s sure all the aunties and uncles use to determine the most attractive marriage prospects for their children – her scoring might go something like this:
+2 points for getting excellent grades
–3 points for failing to live up to expectations set by genius older sister
+4 points for dutifully obeying parents and never, ever going to parties, no matter how antisocial that makes her seem to everyone at Deer Hook High
–1 point for harboring secret jealousy of her best friends, who are allowed to date like normal teenagers
+2 points for never drinking an alcoholic beverage
–10 points for obsessing about Asher Richelli, who talks to Nina like she’s not a freak at all, even though he knows that she has a disturbing line of hair running down her back
In this wryly funny debut novel, the smart, sassy, and utterly lovable Nina Khan tackles friends, family, and love, and learns that it’s possible to embrace two very different cultures – even if things can get a little bit, well, hairy.
“Karim’s first novel provides a rare exploration of Muslim culture and will be a welcome addition to teen collections.” —Booklist
“In this debut, episodic novel, rife with smart, self-deprecating humor . . . Nina searches for identity and emerging independence while accepting the reality of her home life.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Whether they share Nina’s circumstances or not, readers will readily identify with her struggle, and they’ll find her an endearing and admirable literary companion.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books