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Synopses & Reviews
For fans of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
, an unforgettable story about female friendship and queer love in a Muslim-American community
"Stunningly beautiful." — The New York Times Book Review
Razia Mirza grows up amid the wild grape vines and backyard sunflowers of Corona, Queens, with her best friend, Saima, by her side. When a family rift drives the girls apart, Razia's heart is broken. She finds solace in Taslima, a new girl in her close-knit Pakistani-American community. They embark on a series of small rebellions: listening to scandalous music, wearing miniskirts, and cutting school to explore the city.
When Razia is accepted to Stuyvesant, a prestigious high school in Manhattan, the gulf between the person she is and the daughter her parents want her to be, widens. At Stuyvesant, Razia meets Angela and is attracted to her in a way that blossoms into a new understanding. When their relationship is discovered by an Aunty in the community, Razia must choose between her family and her own future.
Punctuated by both joy and loss, full of '80s music and beloved novels, Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion is a new classic: a fiercely compassionate coming-of-age story of a girl struggling to reconcile her heritage and faith with her desire to be true to herself.
"Stunningly beautiful... Rehman evokes time and place like a poet, with descriptions both precise and lyrical, making the streets of this working-class neighborhood come alive on the page... Where a lesser book might have stooped to stereotypes about Muslims or immigrants, Rehman shows readers the complexities within Razia's community. Individuals are allowed to be surprising, even to themselves, in this deft and empathetic novel." The New York Times Book Review
"Razia's growing pains with her cultural heritage, Muslim faith, parental pressures, queer sexuality, and more lead to self-discoveries that help her reshape complex family and friendship ties. These pages are filled with plenty of 1980s Pakistani and American markers - music, movies, books, clothing - to evoke a singular worldview of the Pakistani immigrant community of that time and place." NPR
"An ode to adolescence in the vein of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn...As Razia strains against the restrictions imposed by her Muslim family, Rehman ably evokes the period — the AIDS epidemic — and the texture of life in a jumble of immigrant communities." The New Yorker
About the Author
Bushra Rehman grew up in Corona, Queens. She is co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism, and author of the poetry collection Marianna's Beauty Salon and the dark comedy Corona, one of the New York Public Library's favorite books about NYC.