Five Stars for All My Rage

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

A Five-Star Book Review

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir is a book about love, culture, and who you turn to when life is unimaginably hard. It is a beautiful story I about desperate people making desperate decisions, and I am here for it.

Nope and Salahudin (Sal) have been best friends since grade school. They were the only Pakistani children in their small desert town of Juniper, California, and have been bonded since Noor arrives in the classroom after being rescued by her uncle when her family was killed in an earthquake back home. That is, they were best friends until The Fight, when Noor confessed her non-platonic love for Sal and he denied her.

Despite the pleas from Misbah, Sal’s mother, that the two should rebuild their friendship, the two are distant until the unthinkable happens. With tragedy and threats of future ruin approach, these teenagers join back together. Sal is desperate to save The Clouds’ Rest, the desert motel that was his mother’s dream, and to stop his father’s alcoholism, and Noor is determined to escape her oppressive Chachu and his liquor store, which is where her uncle is determined Noor will work upon her high school graduation. The decisions these two make through the book are frustrating, hopeful, and anguished.

What I Loved about All My Rage

  • The time shifts: The book is separated by Then and Now, so we learn about the past: Misbah’s life in Pakistan, her marriage to Toufiq, and their arrival in Juniper, and the present: Noor and Sal’s experiences in their high school years.
  • The cultural diversity: Author Sabaa Tahir is a master at weaving Pakistini and Muslim culture and traditions into the immigrant experience in the U.S. This helped me learn while I read a page-turning novel.
  • The tough choices: Noor and Sal face terrible situations that make them take action in different ways. This isn’t easy subject matter; sexual and physical abuse, addiction, and poverty are threaded throughout the book.
  • The resolution: I won’t give any spoilers, but I left the book feeling that Noor, Sal, and Misbah all received a well-deserved end.

What book have you read and loved lately?

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