Y is You’re Not Proper, by Tariq Mehmood (book review) – Christian or Muslim? She cannot be both!

book cover of You're Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood published by Hope RoadWhite mother, Pakistani father – who is Kiran?
Hijab-wearer, track star – who is Shamshad?
Tied to the old ways, seeking the new ways – who are they?

Two Pakistani-British teen girls share a school and neighborhood, but not much else until Kiran decides that the Christian church isn’t her place and begins asking Dad about Islam. Shamshad certainly doesn’t want to teach Kiran at the mosque school – her father said to always stay away from that family!

You’ll probably need to ask your local library or independent bookstore to get You’re Not Proper  since it’s a recent release from a small publisher, but you’ll definitely want to read both girls’ views on where religion and teen life can intersect, how life in their crowded London neighborhood is/isn’t good, and how searching for identity can bring uncomfortable insights.

Have you seen prejudice or bullying of those who wear clothing that reflects their faith?

Book info: You’re Not Proper (Striker, book 1) / Tariq Mehmood. Hope Road Publishing, 2015.  [author interview]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Trying to find their place in their British urban school’s pecking order and in a society that distrusts Muslims, Kiran and Shamshad are enemies until a crisis brings the girls closer to understanding one another.

Kiran is uncomfortable at the Christian church she attends with her white mum (who doesn’t even believe) and wonders why her Pakistani dad drinks beer instead of going to mosque.

Shamshad wishes her Pakistani family were a bit more modern, so Father would let her have TV and music in the house. Of course, he is right to warn her away from that mixed-race Kiran girl!

When Kiran decides to wear the hijab and learn more about Islam, Shamshad is furious that her friends want to help – that’s not proper!

A white classmate’s brother serving in the British Army goes missing in Afghanistan, and tensions rise between Christians and Muslims in their town.

Should the girls listen to the young imam with radical ideas?
Why is Kiran’s mom so depressed now and Shamshad’s mother suddenly so outspoken?
What’s the truth about the feud between their families which began back in Pakistan?

Alternating chapters by Kiran and Shamshad unfold the complexities of being different, being accepted, being rejected, and being yourself during troubled current times in their English city. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

5 thoughts on “Y is You’re Not Proper, by Tariq Mehmood (book review) – Christian or Muslim? She cannot be both!

  1. Fabulous – this certainly sounds like the sort of book that is needed in this time, where so much is misunderstood and half understood about people of all religious faiths and different identities. Books like this should be available in every school library. Well done on getting this far! ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com (don’t use Twitter of Blogger links, they don’t work!)

  2. Reminds me of my neighbors. Pakistani, but a nice mix of old ways and new ideas.
    We just call them “Chicagoans”. 😉 Same play, different cast of characters over the years.

    Congratulations on completing the A to Z blogging challenge (almost, but you are one away)!
    Don’t forget about the A to Z Reflections post coming up in May.

    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Vampires

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