Skunk Girl | Sheba Karim

Nina attempts to fit in at her small-town New York high school while respecting her parents’ wishes for her to remain a “good Pakistani-Muslim girl.”

Recommendations

• “Rife with smart, self-deprecating humor.” Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2009

• “A rare exploration of Muslim culture … will be a welcome addition to teen collections.” Booklist review, April 15, 2009

Review

Bleaching her mustache and missing out on all the best parties are part of what Nina’s come to expect as a Pakistani-American teen with the strictest parents in town. At the start of her junior year in high school, she’s still living in the shadow of her genius older sister and still trying to figure out how to keep up socially in spite of her family’s fear that she’s becoming too “Um-ree-can-ized.”

Then the unexpected happens: Nina meets an attractive Italian exchange student named Asher—and Asher catches a glimpse of the dark line of hair running down the middle of her back. More humiliated than ever, Nina is certain that Asher will prefer button-nosed blond Serena over her scholarly, hirsute self.

Teens of all backgrounds will be able to relate to Nina’s struggle in reconciling her own identity with her family’s culture. While the girl-crushing-on-boy story may be familiar, the funny and touching Skunk Girl is truly a novel of a different stripe.

Karim, Sheba. Skunk Girl. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009.

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October 24, 2009. Tags: , , . Multicultural, Realistic.

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