I opened Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin expecting a light-hearted romcom with Muslim lingo, fun anecdotes, and maybe a bit of serious discussion on what life is like as a South Asian Canadian Muslim woman. I was not expecting to be punched in the gut with beautiful characters, amazing writing, a fully-developed plot, and just an overall WONDERFUL book that feels like home. It is not often that I will openly rave about a book, (so enjoy it while it lasts) but Hana Khan Carries On deserves every compliment it gets and then some. It quite literally made me tear up. And it made me laugh. SO. MUCH. (Rashid, best and funniest character hands-down, gets all the comedic credit.)
Also, my fears about bad Muslim rep were completely wrong (THANK GOODNESS). Hana Khan Carries On manages to carry with it a nuanced and deep reflection about life as a second-generation immigrant, about Muslim love stories, loss, ambition, and family relationships. Every single plot line is so AMAZING, I am seriously in awe. There is a side plot to appeal to everyone, and even I, a self-proclaimed romance critic, loved every bit of it. The overall feel of the book is more of a classic than any light contemporary romance I’ve ever read (and I admit I haven’t read many, but still) which helps. It offers a rivals-to-lovers slow burn, includes so many twists and turns, offers well-developed side characters and CHARACTER ARCS THAT ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD.
Anything else I could say would be redundant because I just loved reading this so much. I even finished it in a matter of hours (and will be rereading!). My only criticism is that the resolution wrapped up too quickly and that I could have down with a hundred more pages! *sigh*
Basically: If you haven’t read this book, go read it right now. 10/10, I have found a new favourite.
P.S. This is not qualified as YA because the protagonist and other characters are in their 20s BUT there is absolutely nothing graphic or inappropriate in the book. In fact, it’s much more benign than some YA I’ve read AHAHAHA, don’t worry about that!