Tag Archives: YA Islamic Fiction

She Wore Red Trainers COVER

Prior to reading Naima B Robert’s latest young adult fiction She Wore Red Trainers I hadn’t really read much Islamic fiction. But the mere fact that it was a Muslim romance story – the preview of which I had earlier read – increased my thirst to savour the sweetness of its magical lines till the last full stop.

Reading it was like being in a different world. It was a complete page turner and, masha’Allah, from the time the curtain was raised to when it was drawn, I was filled with pleasure and inner joy for reading a story as beautiful as this authored by a Muslimah.

She Wore Red Trainers COVERShe Wore Red Trainers tells the story of two teenagers who fall in love, Ali and Ameerah; the both of them from two entirely different, far-from-perfect backgrounds. Ameerah, who had vowed never to get married as a result of her mother’s experience with the wrong choices of husbands, suddenly meets Ali. And Ali is battling with a lot of things such as his maintenance of recently recommenced religious practices, the reality of the loss of his mum, and the difficulties of adapting to a new environment he had just moved into with his family.

Neither protagonist can stop thinking about the other. Things become a little confusing for the young love birds as they both face their difficulties and obstacles in making the right decisions, in terms of Islam, family, and community. A lot of complications set in. Such as the over-protectiveness of Ameerah’s brother Zayd, who had also gone through a lot in shaping his sister to becoming the woman she was. And, for Ali, the high expectations from his father who wanted his son to pursue a degree in law.

The two love birds continue with their individual struggles enveloped by secret feelings of strong love for each other.

As my eyes travelled down the beautiful destination led by the powerful assembly of words into a breathtaking storyline, I became more curious to know how everything unfolds in the end.

Would there be any spine-freezing dates, awkward romantic conversations, enchanting eye contacts, and would they get to hold hands in the end, have their first kiss, first romance and what not? I kept imagining as I personally got butterflies all over me. It was full of suspense.

The central characters were strong and portrayed the beauty of Islam. The character Zayd portrayed both both good and not-so-good sides, playing both protagonist and antagonist in his own unique way.

I absolutely loved the fact that Ameerah’s mother – the weakest character – was able to grow enough nerves to get her irresponsible husband kicked out of their lives while standing up for her daughter. It had me smiling, giggling and of course, it had my heart in my throat.

I must confess that I totally enjoyed reading the book and I absolutely recommend it for all those who love to read. It is indeed a must read for every teenager and parent, especially considering the fact that, as Muslims, love can be very delicate as it is surrounded by so many boundaries which we are expected not to cross.

{And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah . But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah . And if only they who have wronged would consider [that] when they see the punishment, [they will be certain] that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment.}

The Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah (the cow) 2:165

Wardah Abbas is a twenty-something year old self-proclaimed eco–Muslimah based in Nigeria. She is a state attorney and a passionate writer who particularly loves to share lessons from her personal experiences. When Wardah is not writing, volunteering at an event or hanging out with friends, she can be found at the kitchen table whipping up edible ingredients into skin beauty regimens. She is the Earth Care staff writer for Young Muslimah Magazine. Catch up with her on therosespen.wordpress.com.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 248 user reviews.

Normal Calm cover

I stared at the title for a few minutes. Normal Calm. The title stirred all sorts of different questions in my mind.

What could the story be about? What surprise is in there for me?

I didn’t have a paperback copy to read the outline, so I shrugged my shoulders and cuddled myself in my bed. With an abnormally cold temperature outside, in the winter chill of Canada, I would benefit from a warm story to provide me with the right blend of emotions to keep me ‘normal’.

Normal Calm coverNormal Calm is author Hend Hegazi’s first novel. It is a story that actually hit me quite deeply. The speech is simple and the tone is effective. The novel moves at a fair pace and doesn’t let the reader bore. The characters are portrayed well, and each plays his or her role beautifully in the novel.

The main character, Amina, is shown to have been sent to university by her hesitant parents, who have otherwise never allowed her to stay away from home. Letting go is not easy for them. She visits family quite often, as the university into which she’s been accepted – a top one in the US – is only at a distance of about four hours drive. She moves ahead with caution and befriends Sahar and Layal, Rami and Tariq.

Hend Hegazi handles cultural morals very well in the book and quite interestingly so. One of my favourite parts of the story was the hospitality and love shown by Amina to her friends, who were studying with her, yet were very far away from their respective families. They are welcomed by Amina’s family every Eid. Hegazi portrays the celebration of Eid as a ‘family time’ in the mosque and park, and Amina’s parents get the opportunity of knowing who Amina is spending most time with at college.

My favourite character in the novel is Amina’s non-Muslim best friend Kayla, who stays with her through thick and thin. She seems to understand Amina more than anyone and is almost always the first person that she confides in.

After the rape, at the start of the novel, the first person that Amina speaks to, is Kayla, who drives to her immediately. Even though getting raped was not Amina’s own initiative, nor was it Amina’s fault, throughout the novel she’s seen to be dubious as a potential spouse and therefore for any decent prospective proposal. Such is the stigma associated with rape victims in our societies, no matter how liberal and broad minded one is.

At the end of the story, Normal Calm came across to me as the pursuit of normality and calmness in Amina’s life, after her rape. A sensitive, taboo topic, especially in the Muslim community, is handled bravely and confidently by the author.

Whether or not Amina finds the ‘normal calmness’ in life is up to the reader to find out. A female protagonist struck by tragedy, dealing with it in quite a pragmatic way and without much support from her parents, a prejudiced community and the potential suitors who see Amina’s plight in a different lens due to different cultural norms, is what Normal Calm entails.

I recommend this impactful read to everyone. It is not very often that we see such story lines being handled by Muslim authors. This book provides an insight on the struggles that abused raped victims face and may prove to work as a therapy for such victims. I would have loved to see religion play a more vital role in coping with some of the psychological after affects of this calamity; nevertheless, Normal Calm is an excellent read. And when I needed a warm story to provide me with the right blend of emotions to keep me ‘normal’, Normal Calm did just that!

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour further away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.

The Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa’ (the women), 4:36

A teacher by profession, an MBA by degree and a student of religion, Khudaija A. Nagaria found refuge and happiness writing, using her passion for serving Islam. Being a freelancer she writes for different magazines and forums. So far her articles and poems have been published in prestigious magazines such as Dawn, Hiba, Aailaa and Young Muslimah Magazine, and websites such as Moments of Perfect Clarity, and Muslim Moms. Khudaija is a writer for Muslimaat Magazine and has served as their Marketing Manager and a Contributing Editor. She is an active member of Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA). She prays her writing be a means of Sadaqa e Jaariyah for her deceased parents.

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 213 user reviews.