If I Should Speak is the first in a trilogy. It is about Tamika, a Christian sophomore student and her encounter with accidental Muslim roommates and her eventual journey into discovering Islam. The story of her struggles continues in A Voice and ends in Footsteps which is the third in the sequel.
27 years old Jameelah Salih is the main character in this urban Islamic fiction. She works as a hair stylist with her two best friends in the city's only Muslim women's owned and operated hair salon,Covered Pearls. She loves her job and appears to be content with her material possessions. However, 9/11 and its aftermath seem to have affected her greatly, creating a negative impact on the people around her. While she is not happy about this situation and prays for change, a marriage proposal from a prominent Imam is thought to be the blessing she has been awaiting for, until an unexpected crisis erupts…..
3. Where The Streets Had A Name
Author: Randa Abdel Fattah
Thirteen-year-old Hayaat is on a mission. She has the childish belief that a handful of soil from her grandmother's ancestral home in Jerusalem will save her beloved Sitti Zeynab's life since she once heard her wishing to ‘touch the soil again’. Hayaat and her best friend Samy decide to make good use of a curfew-free day to travel to Jerusalem. However, the only problem is the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank, as well as the checkpoints. Though their journey is only few kilometres long, it may take a lifetime to complete.
The story highlights the conditions of the Palestinians and what they are going through at the hands of the Israelis.
4. Muslim Teens In Pitfalls and Pranks
Author: Maryam Mohamoodian
Muslim Teens in Pitfalls and Pranks is two weeks in the lives of five teenagers which focuses on the events that happen to these five characters and how those events change their lives.
“Imagine that you are an average fifteen-year old boy in an American public high school. You study hard, play soccer, and look forward to getting your driver’s license next year along with your first job. One typical day, a blonde-haired, popular cheerleader approaches you at school and wants to go on a date. Everyone’s dream, right? Except suddenly you suddenly realise that you’re not an average boy and you’re a Muslim and not allowed to date……..”
But all around you – in high school, in books, on television – everyone is dating. So who do you turn to as an example?
5. Boy vs. Girl
Author: Na’ima B Robert
Boy vs. Girl explores a story of love shared by a brother, Faraz and sister, Farhana born six minutes apart. They are very close siblings that look out, support and bring out the good in each other.
This novel is very realistic and Na’ima B. Robert has outdone herself in conveying genuine issues teenagers face today, especially those who live in societies that contradict the Islamic ethos and teachings.
6. Secrets of the Henna Girl.
Author: Sufiya Ahmed
Secrets of the Henna Girl is about sixteen year old Zeba’s ordeal at the hands of her family when she refused to marry her cousin, Asif. This was a marriage arrangement which her father agreed to in order to keep his “honour” within the family but at the expense of his daughter’s happiness. However, Zeba had the support of her Nannyma (Grandma) and her Aunt who wanted the world for her. In this thought provoking novel, Sufiya Ahmed explores the subjugation of the women of Pakistan by the strict imposition of culture which favours men above women generally. Also, this book shows the oppression of the peasants by some of the rich landlords who do not have respect for the religion they profess.
7. The Echoes series
Author: Jamilah Linda Kolocotronis
Echoes is the first book in the Echoes series. It is followed by Rebounding, Turbulence, Ripples and Silence. These books are fantastic and are a must read.
In her work, Kolocotronis addresses a wide range of issues that affect the Muslim family in general. I cried, laughed and grinned at events of love, betrayal, support, sorrow, hope, fear etc. throughout the series. These books are sure to boost your iman and are great for da’wah too.
8. A Friendship Promise
Author: Ruby Moore (Umm Zakiyyah)
In order to introduce her young adult writing and revive her original family name, Umm Zakiyyah (the author of the Trilogy If I Should Speak, A Voice and Footsteps and also the spiritual fiction Realities of Submission and Hearts We Lost) has released this latest novel A Friendship Promise under the pen name, Ruby Moore. A Friendship Promise is a book that resonated with me and I totally enjoyed it. This work of fiction introduces us to the lives of three teenage Muslim girls from different cultural backgrounds and that of their parents, and their struggles between Islam and culture.
9. Lyrics Alley
Author: Leila Aboulela
Lyrics Alley is about the story of the Abuzied’s family and how they come to terms with Nur’s disability. Buried in the heart of this rich story is the history of 1950s Sudan. It is a poignant and heart-rending story of how an individual learns to accept himself. I totally enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.
10. Girls of Riyadh
Author: Rajaa Alsanea
This is a fictitious representation of four friends, Gamrah, Sadeem, Michelle and Lamees, who are not exactly “naughty” as one would have thought while reading the blurb on the back of the novel. It turns out that they all are victims of different circumstances. It is highly readable and the issues raised are quite realistic.
Muslim Teen Reads is an online book store and book club for teenagers who are interested in reading and connecting with like-minds across the world. We are committed to bringing Islamic fiction and non-fiction to Muslim teenagers and also to celebrate our much beloved and committed Muslim writers, foster a reading culture in teenagers and most importantly, use the fictitious characters to motivate and encourage young Muslims to aspire to be the best they can be. Please visit our website for more reviews www.muslimteenreads.com.
Fawziyyah Emiabata is an avid reader and a promoter of literacy. She owns the online bookstore and book club Muslim Teen Reads www.muslimteenreads.com , which was partly inspired by the youths she works with as a co-ordinator, in Ireland.