for Not the Girls You're Looking for
by Aminah Mae Safi
Muslim American Lulu Saad is one of four young women in a tight group of friends in Houston. Her dad is a history professor who emigrated from Iraq; her mom is a lawyer from Louisiana. Lulu’s friendships are strong and fierce, but also complicated and at times highly charged. Her family and extended relations with their Muslim community in Houston are also challenging as Lulu navigates her complex identity. A work that illuminates sexism, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and prejudice (many of the Muslim women in their extended community aren’t exactly welcoming to her mom, so the prejudice in her family works both ways) isn’t about any of those things. It’s about a teen girl trying to understand what has happened as her friendships seem to be unraveling, where she is accountable and where she is owed accountability; it’s about figuring out who she is and how she fits into her circle of friends and her extended family and community. While a revenge plot against a boy is over the top (if viscerally satisfying), the feelings behind it regarding consent are not in a story that is otherwise nuanced and bold, funny and painful, and that confronts macro- and micro-aggressions on many fronts. (Age 13 and older)
CCBC Choices 2019. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019. Used with permission.
Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.
Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.
Debut author Aminah Mae Safi's honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if —especially if—you love them.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.