The Beauty of the Moment
The Beauty of the Moment
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Annotation: Sixteen-year-old Susan is the new girl in her Canadian high school, striving to meet her parents' academic expectations, missing the friends she left behind in Saudi Arabia, dreaming of pursuing her passion for art, and secretly meeting with troublemaker Malcolm.
Catalog Number: #181530
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 356 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-374-30844-6
ISBN 13: 978-0-374-30844-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018009361
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Susan attended an all-girls school where she excelled in her studies, striving to meet the high expectations of her parents. Now, however, Susan and her mother have moved to Mississauga, Ontario, for Susan's final year of high school. It's all joltingly strange, from the absence of Susan's father, who keeps pushing back his arrival date, to the presence of boys everywhere. One boy, Malcolm, manages to befriend Susan despite her resistance. Malcolm has his own demons, rendering him defiant and academically disengaged. The two make wary progress towards a relationship, with each teen narrating alternating chapters. Both of them are of East Indian heritage, as are many of their friends, and the portrayal of transplanted culture heightens the appeal of their story. Their struggles with expectations and traditions born in a faraway land will ring true for any reader with immigrant parents. At the same time, both Susan and Malcolm bear witness to their own parents' marital failings, in contrast with the stereotype of traditional families. A good recommendation for readers interested in romance.
Kirkus Reviews
Opposites attract in this teen romance shaped by immigration, grief, and loss.Susan Thomas and Malcolm Vakil could not be more different. Susan is a shy, bookish Malayali Christian perfectionist who grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, before moving to Canada for her senior year of high school. Malcolm is a hell-raising Parsi Canadian still reeling from his mother's death, his father's abuse, and his ex-girlfriend's betrayal. Despite their better judgment, the two teens strike up a tentative romance, their feelings quickly deepening from infatuation to true love. But as Susan grapples with her parents' impending divorce and her desire to go to art school and Malcolm confronts his conflicted feelings for his ex-girlfriend and his damaged relationship with his father and stepmother, the two must learn to overcome their insecurities to support each other. The story is told from each of their points of view, and each perspective is nuanced and distinct. Susan's character arc is convincing and compelling, defying her initial characterization as a clichéd, overprotected Indian girl. But while the action is fast-paced and the characters refreshingly diverse, Bhathena's (A Girl Like That, 2018) clumsy prose and stilted dialogue limit the narrative's emotional impact. The Parsi elements of the book ring true, particularly refreshing considering how little Parsis are represented in Western YA literature. In contrast, the book is riddled with cultural inaccuracies and stereotypes about southern Indians that unfortunately render those characters less believable.A diverse, entertaining love story that falls just short of extraordinary. (Romance. 14-18)
Publishers Weekly
Bhathena (A Girl like That) weaves forbidden love and love gone awry into her story of a high school senior adjusting to Western culture. Raised in Saudi Arabia, Susan now lives in Canada with her mother while her father continues to practice medicine overseas. Attending a coed school is a novelty for sheltered Susan, and she soon finds herself drawn to rebellious Malcolm-a friendship she hides from her strict parents, who are getting a divorce. Also a secret are her dreams for the future: instead of fulfilling her parents- wishes by becoming a doctor or engineer, she wants to attend art school. Malcolm is holding on to secrets of his own about his charged relationship with his father and stepmother. The characters can feel clichéd, but this dramatic romance, told from Susan and Malcolm-s alternating viewpoints, authentically traces the teens- gradual changes as they come to terms with mistakes they-ve made and who they want to be. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)
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ALA Booklist (2/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Word Count: 93,761
Reading Level: 5.2
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.2 / points: 14.0 / quiz: 503290 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: HL780L
Guided Reading Level: X

Susan is the new girl--she's sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents' expectations of excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy--he started raising hell at age fifteen, after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since. Susan's parents are on the verge of divorce. Malcolm's dad is a known adulterer. Susan hasn't told anyone, but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn't know what he wants--until he meets her. Love is messy and families are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.

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