Zara Hossain is Here


Zara takes her stress out in her Tae-Kwan Do practice. Thereafter she attends Social Justice Club meetings with her friends, and hangs out with them for frozen yogurt. It seems that she’s just a normal teenage girl.

However, as one of the few Muslim students at her Corpus Christi high school, and then in her community, it seems that Zara stands out. It doesn’t matter that this life is the only one she’s ever known, that Pakistan is somewhere from which her parents originated and family members live. What’s more, it’s not like her family is a practising Muslim family. They even accept her bisexuality. It seems as though Zara Hossain stands out; unfortunately to Tyler Benson, school jock, lead football player, son of a major school benefactor.

Therefore, when Zara stands up to him and faces his wrath through racist abuse painted over her locker, Zara’s parents feel they must speak to the school. Thereafter they take the matter to Tyler’s home. It’s then that matters turn for the worst, leading to a nightmarish situation for Zara and her family.

Where do they belong? Where does Zara belong? Who is she? While she struggles within her family, supported by friends, and Chloe, it seems so much is decided by bureaucracy, the same anonymous group so keen to employ her paediatrician father and then kickstart the green card application…

Zara Hossain is Here is a relevant, urgent, compassionate story that Bookwagon recommends highly to our older, teenage readers.

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Zara Hossain is Here

Sabina Khan


Zara Hossain is Here, in Corpus- Christi, her school, with her friends. While her school is Catholic, and she is Muslim, there are some different faiths and backgrounds. What’s more this is a school supposed to show zero tolerance to racist or sexist abuse. However, Zara seems to stand out, especially to Tyler, the cream of the football team. Although her friend Nick offers to speak to him, it seems that Zara is a target.
Thereafter, when the targeting grows stronger, and Zara’s locker is defaced, Zara’s father seeks the school’s support. Yet will it step up? Furthermore, will Tyler’s family take action? Or might there action lead to a nightmarish situation for Zara, her family and their friends? Could it be that by facing racist and religious bullying, they might face the hostility of bureaucracy that denies them a right to remain? However, should they return to the country of Zara’s birth, will the same opportunities and understanding as those in the United States be denied her? After all, her sexuality will prove a problem, as will any career choices. It’s hard enough to face up to being LGBTQ+ in the United States, but in Muslim Pakistan?
Difference and truths are themes examined in What We’re Scared Of. Like that book, the main character here, faces herself to examine what she wants, how she might move forward in her life, and ultimately how she defines herself. Yet why should she be forced into that by the prejudice of another and the unfairness of an immigration system that sought her father’s medical skill, initially?
Zara Hossain is Here is a powerful, truthful, real account of an impasse of intolerance, misunderstanding, fear and love.


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