UNSETTLED, by Reem Faruqi, HarperCollins, May 11, 2021, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
Unsettled, by Reem Faruqi, follows a Pakistani girl and her family as they settle into their new lives in America.
When her family moves from Pakistan to Peachtree City, all Nurah wants is to blend in, yet she stands out for all the wrong reasons. Nurah’s accent, floral-print kurtas, and tea-colored skin make her feel excluded, until she meets Stahr at swimming tryouts.
And in the water Nurah doesn’t want to blend in. She wants to win medals like her star athlete brother, Owais — who is going through struggles of his own in the U.S. Yet when sibling rivalry gets in the way, she makes a split-second decision of betrayal that changes their fates.
Ultimately Nurah slowly gains confidence in the form of strong swimming arms, and also gains the courage to stand up to bullies, fight for what she believes in, and find her place. —Synopsis provided by HarperCollins
Moving to a new neighborhood is hard, but moving halfway around the world can be overwhelming. At first, everything in Georgia seems different. Nurah is different. The one place where Nurah and Owais feel comfortable is the pool. Dipping into the blue, they can almost feel at peace.
Written in verse, Unsettled is a fast moving, compelling read. Some chapters are a few pages, others a few sentences. Author Reem Faruqi takes advantage of the sparse language, allowing the spaces and silences to say as much as the words. The simplicity is eloquent and moving.
Nurah is a lovely character. Throughout the book, she learns her own heart, her own hopes, her own talents. Nurah finds her voice, and begins to discover who she wants to become.
Unsettled is a warm read that offers themes of empowerment, belonging and self-discovery.
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