Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. Paperback – July 8, 2011
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"Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. deftly combines humor and poignancy with an authentic teen voice set against the multicultural background of vibrant Miami and Almira's loving yet strict Muslim family." --Paula Yoo, author of Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds and Good Enough
"I laughed out loud as Almira struggled to fit in with her traditional family as well as the rest of the world." --Sydney Salter, author of My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters
"I love Almira Abdul--the honest, tell-it-like-it-is, funny, and very real main character of Medeia Sharif's wonderful, eye-opening debut." --Melissa Senate, author of See Jane Date
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.
- Grade level : 7 - 12
- Lexile measure : 760L
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Paperback : 312 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0738723231
- ISBN-13 : 978-0738723235
- Dimensions : 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
- Publisher : Flux; Original edition (July 8, 2011)
- Language: : English
- Reading level : 12 years
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,934,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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While she has been born and raised stateside, her grandfather hasn't. His standards are those of a different culture, one that draws on strict Muslim rules of conduct. And, although, Almira's parents are more liberal, they too hold different standards and expectations for their only child.
Among them is to observe Ramadan, the Muslim period of fasting. And it's darned hard to not eat or drink from dawn to sunset with constant temptations from her friends.
Then there's Peter. He's the boyfriend she's dreamed of, but how can she introduce him to her family when there's still talk of arranged marriages?
I liked Almira for several reasons: she's a "good" girl, a good daughter and a true friend. We see her pass a lot of tests to prove all of these qualities.
I loved the multi-cultural theme of this book. It was very well handled--no preaching, just revealing a young Muslim girl's struggle to do the right thing while straddling her Muslim background and the more secular west.
Teens will enjoy reading this book and, if they have no experience with Muslim practices, they will learn something very interesting.
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. These include friendship, tolerance, isolation that comes from being misunderstood, and self-acceptance. The lessons learned are obvious, but do not come across as preachy, which marks Sharif as a sensitive writer who handles her chosen subjects well.
COVER NOTE: I think the cover captures all the elements that Sharif writes about in Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.
p.31, paperback edition: "My stomach roars like a lion, which halts my romantic thoughts. It now feels like my belly is separate from the rest of me, like I have a dog inside of me that needs to be walked, fed, and bathed. Down, boy. I eat breakfast to silence the beast."
p.154, paperback edition: "Yesterday morning started out horribly […] but today is a new day, hopefully a better day. Mornings are like almost-clean slates. I say almost-clean because the residue of yesterdays is sometimes stuck on them."
The bottom line is Almira is a good girl who wants to please. She wants to do what's right, both with her friends and with her family. The problem is finding the balance between old and new ways.
Top reviews from other countries
I confess that the opening pages made me feel slightly alarmed, in this modern age of eating disorders and obsessions with body image, but as I read on I realised that Almira Abdul has a genuine weight problem and while not obsessed by it, would like to be as 'hot' as her fitness conscious mum.
I was attracted to this novel because of its original subject matter. I wanted to learn what it was like to be a Muslim American Teenager trying to sustain her fast during Ramadan, while coping with normal teenage commitments and concerns, such as parental and cultural restrictions, boyfriends versus friendships, spiteful rivalries, the desire to be kissed and braces on her teeth!
I enjoyed the journey and would thoroughly recommend the book. I was also left with the distinct impression that this young, Muslim teenager was beginning to mature into the religion and culture into which she was born, by the fact that she enjoyed visiting the Mosque with her family (something they had done rarely) and striving to achieve the Ramadan fast. So while her expectations and desires appeared superficially American, her grounding was in the culture to which she was born.