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Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. Paperback – July 8, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Medeia Sharif (Miami Beach, FL) is a Kurdish-American author and high school English teacher. She received her master's degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. is her debut novel.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Flux; Original edition (July 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738723231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738723235
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Medeia Sharif was born in New York City and presently calls Miami her home. She received her master's degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Published through various presses, she writes middle grade and young adult short stories and novels. In addition to being a writer, she's a public school teacher.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Almira Abdul has something to prove to both her family and herself; she can fast successfully during Ramadan. Her first crush proves to be problematic as she has competition from both friend and seeming enemy. Almira must stand strong through constant hunger, the strictures that come from being Muslim, and a struggle to maintain a friendship that means the world to her.

PLAYERS:
Almira: A spunky, determined American Muslim girl who faces several challenges, including that of cultural practices, self-image and romance.

Grandpa: epitomizes fundamentalism in its worst form. He's quite a character, who believes in sticking to tradition and has the habit of yelling `Prostitute!" at any woman who's not dressed to his standards or who behaves contrary to his standards. Though insufferable, Grandpa provided me with immense entertainment at times.

I liked Almira's voice. She makes funny observations from the get-go, including her reference to Arabic as a `foreign language'. The story flowed for me because I found her to be funny, natural and realistic in all the angst she goes through over her love life and physical attributes.

I admired her determination to succeed at the goal she set herself despite several attempts to sabotage her efforts. Though she struggles with her conscience, Almira is mature enough to realize that some things are better left unsaid, particularly in the context of familial expectations.

I could have lived without Grandpa's extreme approach to dealing with women, however, the book would not have been the same without his character being written as is.

Several themes are explored in Bestest. Ramadan. Ever., which makes it a good read for teens.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bestest. Ramadan. Ever by Medeia Sharif follows Almira a Muslim girl who is trying to have her first successful Ramadan fast. The members of Almira's family differ in how devout they are from her grandfather disapproving of anything American to Almira herself who appreciates her heritage but also wants to be able to have a boyfriend and wear makeup. The story follows Almira through her month of Ramadan while she tries to balance her families traditions with the American lifestyle that her friends have.

This is a cute and funny book about an immigrant trying to make sense out of the complex world that she lives in. Trying to figure out how to be Muslim enough for her parents but American enough for herself. The book doesn't do a great job at showing readers what it's like to be an Islamic teenager. Islam and her families culture is seen more as a burden and the reader isn't given many positive aspects of the religion to balance out the negatives. However, I loved Almira and was engrossed in her story and finished the book quickly. The author did a fantastic job at creating characters that the reader cares about and there are lots of funny moments in the book (like the comments that her English teachers writes on her daily journal entries).

Appropriateness: There is not any adult content in this book. This is a light hearted fun contemporary novel that will be enjoyed by readers 11+
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
See more of my reviews sooner on The YA Kitten!

I feel awful for writing this, but a review is a review and I've got too much to say for me to just leave this novel unreviewed. There are never enough novels about characters other than the upper-middle-class white girl, so I've been understandably looking forward to Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. for months. This novel, like so many others I have anticipated this year, turned out to be a hot mess rife with one-dimensional characters and horrid plotting.

The only compliment that can be given is for the portrayal of Almira's home life. The difficulties of living in a household where your grandfather is a very traditional Muslim and your parents retain a few of the stricter values like the "no boyfriends" rule sounds difficult, and the scenes where Almira interacts with her family are the ones that really shine. My grandfather may be a borderline-fundamental Christian, but the way her family has to be careful not to do anything that angers Grandpa or else a fight will happen reminds me of the way my family has to creep around Papa. Even the fight Almira's mother has with Grandpa at one point resembles a fight my own mother had with Papa. Some things transcend religion.

That is where the good ends, sadly. Almira has a one-note personality, her friends are the same way, and Peter, the love interest she spends the entire book mooning over, has none at all. These characters never grow and change. This gets especially frustrating when she criticizes herself for being shallow in the past when she is just as shallow, if not more so, in the present. The occasion where she called her own mother ungrateful for not noticing when a teenage boy ogles her (the mother) didn't do much to make her bearable either.
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Format: Paperback
Almira is fasting for Ramadan. It isn't easy. She's fifteen and her self-control is touch and go. But she's determined to prove to herself, to her friends, and to her family that she can successfully make it though her first Ramadan without cheating.

What a fun read! I truly and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Sharif's voice is brilliant and funny. Her characterizations are well-drawn and lively. I found myself laughing aloud a number of times throughout the novel. She created the perfect character arc for a fifteen-year-old dilemma.

A light-hearted read that isn't meant to be a political statement about being Muslim in America. Instead, it plays on the universal theme of being different and an outcast in high school. I highly recommend it.
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