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Ask Me No Questions Hardcover – February 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416903518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416903512
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,305,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10-As part of a U.S. government crackdown on illegal immigration after 9/11, Muslim men were required to register with the government and many were arrested because their visas had long-since expired. Families who had lived and worked in this country were suddenly and forcibly reminded of their illegal status without any likelihood of changing it. For 18-year-old Aisha Hossain, this means the end of her dream of going to college to become a doctor. For 14-year-old Nadira, her younger sister and the story's narrator, it means coming out from behind the shadow of her perfect older sister to reveal her own strength and find a way to reunite her nearly shattered family. Immigrants from Bangladesh, the Hossains have lived illegally in New York for years, their visa requests handled by a series of dishonest or incompetent lawyers and mired in the tortuous process of bureaucratic red tape. Following their father's arrest and detention, the teens put together the documentation and make a case that requires the judges to see them as individuals rather than terror suspects. The author explains their situation well, but the effect is more informational than fiction. Nadira and Aisha are clearly drawn characters, but they don't quite come alive, and their Bangladeshi-American background is more a backdrop than a way of life. Still, this is an important facet of the American immigrant experience, worthy of wider attention.-Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. What is it like to be an illegal alien in New York now? In a moving first-person, present-tense narrative, Nadira, 14, relates how her family left Bangladesh, came to the U. S. on a tourist visa, and stayed long after the visa expired ("Everyone does it. You buy a fake social security number for a few hundred dollars and then you can work."). Their illegal status is discovered, however, following 9/11, when immigration regulations are tightened. When the family hurriedly seeks asylum in Canada, they are turned back, and Nadira's father, Abba, is detained because his passport is no longer valid. The secrets are dramatic ("Go to school. Never let anyone know. Never."), and so are the family dynamics, especially Nadira's furious envy of her gifted older sister, Aisha. But Aisha breaks down, and Nadira must take over the struggle to get Abba out of detention and prevent the family's deportation. The teen voice is wonderfully immediate, revealing Nadira's mixed-up feelings as well as the diversity in her family and in the Muslim community. There's also a real drama that builds to a tense climax: Did Abba give funds to a political organization? Where has the money gone? Will Immigration hear his appeal? The answer is a surprise that grows organically from the family's story. Readers will feel the heartbreak, prejudice, kindness, and fear. Add this to the titles in "New Immigration Materials"^B in the August 2005 issue's Spotlight on Immigration. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Marina Budhos, an author of award-winning fiction and nonfiction, has published the novels, Tell Us We're Home, Ask Me No Questions, winner of the James Cook Teen Book Award and New York Public Library Notable and Best Book, The Professor of Light, House of Waiting and a nonfiction book, Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers. In Fall 2010, she will publish Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science, co-authored with her husband, historian and author Marc Aronson. Her short stories, articles, essays, and book reviews have appeared in publications such as The Kenyon Review, The Nation, Ms., Travel & Leisure, Time Out, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. Budhos has given talks at universities in the U.S. and abroad, has been a Fulbright Scholar to India, and was awarded a Rona Jaffe Award for Women Writers and a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Council. Budhos is currently an associate professor of English and Asian Studies at William Paterson University. Her website is

Customer Reviews

This is a greatly informative book, that is an enjoyable read.
Jessica Whitten
This book is a beautiful yet tragic story about love and loss, and how to stick together and never give up even in the hardest circumstances.
It is more than just the story of one family's struggle to stay afloat and remain "home" in the midst of crisis.
Sandhya Nankani

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By children's librarian on July 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I loved this compelling and terrific look at a very important subject. Illegal immigration is much in the news these days, but people rarely seem to see or think about the human faces and stories behind the headlines. This story of a Bangladeshi family who have successfully "passed" as legal for years in New York but are caught up in the post-9/11 crackdown on anyone Muslim is a heartwrenching look at the people affected every day by bureaucratic tangles and injustices, as well as American prejudices and fears. The father wrenched from his family and detained for months, the "star student" daughter who is afraid to tell anyone at school her family's situation, the younger, quieter daughter who works to find a way out of the catastrophe that has befallen the family--these characters come vividly to life and it's impossible not to imagine what it would be like in their situation.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sandhya Nankani on February 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Marina Budhos's first YA novel is a moving story about nation, identity, patriotism, and what it means to be American in post 9-11 America. It is more than just the story of one family's struggle to stay afloat and remain "home" in the midst of crisis. Rather, it gives the experiences of an oft-invisible group of Americans a much-needed voice.

The prose is simple and succinct, and suitable for middle school students, but the content and themes are also sophisticated enough for high school and adult audiences. The theme is timely. The narrator is compelling.

I highly recommend "Ask Me No Questions." It's a valuable addition to post 9-11 literature.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda Roberts on November 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
It's hard to be a teenager...trying to fit in with the crowd while also trying to figure out who you are and what you want to be. But when you are seemingly invisible to the society around you, it's a lot more complicated.

High school students Nadira and Aisha are immigrants from Bangladesh. They have lived in NewYork City since they were young children surrounded by friends and family. Their father (Abba) has been working with a lawyer to acquire the papers to become legal, but for now the family is living on expired visas. Their status as illegal aliens is not a problem, really, until September 11, 2001 when everything changes! Muslims are now targets for harassment and having proper papers is crucial to avoid deportation or even imprisonment!

The family tries to flee to Canada where they hope to receive asylum. Unfortunately, when they reach Canada, they are turned away due to the huge numbers of people also seeking asylum. When they try to re-enter the U.S., they are stopped. Abba is led away for questioning and Ma must stay in a Salvation Army shelter in order to be close to him. Nadira and Aisha are sent back to New York City where they are told to stay with an Aunt and Uncle and go to school as if nothing has happened until the situation is straightened out.

Aisha is a senior in high school and has always been the smart and pretty one. Her grades place her in the top of her class. She is a member of the varsity debate team and she has been nominated to be valedictorian of her class. Aisha has always been sure to fit in with those around her. She wears the right clothes, listens to the right music and has the right friends. She is the "star"of the family who will go to college and be someone rich and important someday.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Review on April 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I found the book very interesting. It showed the emotions of the main character, Nadira, very clearly as she went through the struggles of becoming a U.S. citizen right after the 911 attacks. People were very suspicious of people who appeared to be Middle Eastern, and as she was from Bangladesh she was almost deported with her family because all of them had expired visas. Prior to the 911 tragedy, they would have had the chance to renew their visas easily, and because of the tragedy, her father was arrested as the U.S. government was being very cautious and strict about such things. Nadira had been in the U.S. since she was 8, and because she was now 14, this was especially traumatic as she and her family couldn't have predicted the terrorist attacks, or the changes that would happen afterwards, and they really wanted to be citizens and considered the United States their home. Eventually, Nadira helped her family stay due to her excellent testimony in court.

I felt Nadira's emotions were shown in a compelling manner. As the reader, I could see how she felt inferior to her older sister, Aisha, as Aisha always seemed to know the right thing to say and was appreciated by other people. I also felt the horrible fear along with Nadira as she realized that she and her family could be forced to leave their new home against their will.

Overall this was an interesting look at a situation we U.S. citizens can only imagine.

Cynthia S.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Shanlizra on January 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
I can understand why people like this book, but I don't like it at all. I really want to see these girls in my mind, but right now they could be anybody. I barely know where they are, what their surroundings look like and what the major problem is. I know that her father has been taken away, but that's it. A good book has plot line that thickens as you get into the book, not to have the plot line get duller. Although this book shows the life of a bangladesh immigrant, I wish I could see her suffer more. It may sound a little mean, but it makes an interesting book. One last thing (out of many), is that there are too many unnecessary characters. I want Budhos to spend more time developing the characters and problems/plot before adding nonsense.
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