[ARC Review] More to the Story – Hena Khan

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(Hena Khan, 2019) childrens book

When Jameela Mirza is picked to be feature editor of her middle school newspaper, she’s one step closer to being an award-winning journalist like her late grandfather. The problem is her editor-in-chief keeps shooting down her article ideas. Jameela’s assigned to write about the new boy in school, who has a cool British accent but doesn’t share much, and wonders how she’ll make his story gripping enough to enter into a national media contest.

Jameela, along with her three sisters, is devastated when their father needs to take a job overseas, away from their cozy Georgia home for six months. Missing him makes Jameela determined to write an epic article—one to make her dad extra proud. But when her younger sister gets seriously ill, Jameela’s world turns upside down. And as her hunger for fame looks like it might cost her a blossoming friendship, Jameela questions what matters most, and whether she’s cut out to be a journalist at all…

(via Goodreads)

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What I Liked

  • Cover art
    • I mean, it wouldn’t be on brand if I didn’t mention how much I liked the cover of the books I review. Fine, ok, I admit it. I am a bit vain when it comes to book covers, so sue me. But seriously. 2019 seems to be the year of illustrated covers and I am here for it. I love the colors and how well they play together, and the imagery of the four sisters really gives you a great interpretation of their personalities at first glance. Everything about it is gorgeous.
  • Inspired
    • So one of the things that really drew me into picking this up was that is was loosely inspired by Little Women. The author loves that story, and has her entire life, so she wanted to incorporate it somehow into her work. I loved the dynamic of the four sisters and how they all had their own places within the family order. I personally have not read Little Women, but it still intrigued me to see what a modern inspiration looked like.
  • Family
    • Those who know me know that I am a very family oriented person. I do everything with my family. As I’ve already mentioned, this story has a strong relationship between the sisters, and surprisingly, showcases not only present, but truly great parents. Basically, by the end of this story I am living for this family dynamic.

What I Disliked

  • Length
    • It was too short! It left me seriously wanting for more. I mean it is under 300 pages! The story could have definitely benefited from a bit more. In this instance, I was almost disappointed by the ending because the story felt like it wasn’t over and yet there were no more pages to turn.

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Final Thoughts

This one really surprised me. I picked it up at Book Expo on a whim because the line was short but from the moment I put it in my bag, it was calling to me. After finding out that it was loosely based on Little Women, but that it featured a family of 4 Muslim sisters, I was extremely intrigued. So I picked it up and I was only mildly disappointed (but not in the way you may be thinking). This book follows Jameela, who is the middle daughter of a Muslim family. She has a very strong passion for journalism and is thrilled that she is given the opportunity to be the features editor for the school newspaper. This position is setting her up perfectly for the editor in chief job next year. Unfortunately for her, the current editor in chief does not play well with her ideas. She is assigned a feature story about the new kid, Ali, who happens to be her friend but she’s worried she won’t be able to report in a way that would be interesting for readers, or make her father proud. A unfortunate string of events puts Jameela in a position to not only question her desire for fame, but what matters most in life. Instead of searching for the most interesting story, she finds that whats most important was right in front of her the entire time.

I loved the family dynamics, learning a bit more about the Muslim culture, and watching Jameela develop into a well rounded, caring person throughout this book. The only problem I had with it was that it was too short. I was hoping for a bit more during certain parts, and was super disappointed when I reached the end because the story didn’t feel finished.

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