Hey all! I’ve decided. Starting in October, I’m going try making Monday book review day. That being ‘said’, today I’m reviewing Medeia Sharif‘s newest novel, Hot Pink in the City.
BOOK: HOT PINK IN THE CITY
AUTHOR: MEDEIA SHARIF
GENRE: YOUNG ADULT/COMING-OF-AGE
RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Asma Bashir wants two things: a summer fling and her favorite ’80s songs. During a trip to New York City to stay with relatives, she messes up in her pursuit of both. She loses track of the hunk she met on her airplane ride, and she does the most terrible thing she could possibly do to her strict uncle… ruin his most prized possession, a rare cassette tape.
A wild goose chase around Manhattan and Brooklyn to find a replacement tape yields many adventures — blackmail, theft, a chance to be a TV star, and so much more. Amid all this turmoil, Asma just might be able to find her crush in the busiest, most exciting city in the world.
Sixteen year old Asma is going on vacation to New York from Miami to see her relatives. When she remembers she forgot to pack her mix tape of Madonna while changing handbags at the last-minute, Asma is temporarily consoled when she meets hunky teenage John Stamos look-alike Ibrahim (Abe) and is smitten. She loses him at baggage pickup when her Uncle Farhad calls out to her, and she can’t catch up to him.
Staying with her Uncle Farhad and his Aunt Fatima is like being with her parents: they’re both overprotective, superstitious, and strict. Her cousin Nasreen is like her kindred spirit, wanting to get away from NYC and attend college out-of-state and away from under the thumb of her parents. Then there’s her cousin Omar; eight years old and spoiled rotten, he’s the apple of his parents eyes and can do no wrong. That’s what they think, anyway.
Upset at having left her Madonna mix tape at home, Asma and Nasreen decide the only option is to use Farhad’s equipment. He doesn’t allow use of his recorder or any other equipment, so they have to bribe Omar so he doesn’t tattle. They check through his cassettes to find one that is unused/erased and use it to tape Madonna’s songs against the radio and TV when they come on. Taking a listen after a few songs, they realize too late that they didn’t check the tape carefully enough. Part way through, they find that it’s a rare recording of Farhad’s idol, Umm Kulthum.
From there on it’s a comedy of errors as the girls trek across the city trying to find a replacement tape. When they find it, the price is too high. Determined to get the tape, the girls set out on a quest to make some quick cash. I could go on, but then I’d start giving away spoilers. Do the girls finally get the Umm Kulthum tape? Does Asma meet up with Abe again? Oh, and Omar. Does he finally get his comeuppance?
I adored this novel for a couple of reasons. It took me back to my youth in NYC; the 1980s were my decade, and the time when me and my friends pulled most of our own shenanigans. 🙂 I was all about the big hair, make-up, leg warmers, and yup, Madonna (and 80’s rock bands, and freestyle, and rap). *Sigh* There were moments when I couldn’t help but giggle and times when I rolled my eyes and thought, ‘that’s something I would’ve done.’
The story was well written and the characters fleshed out nicely. I noted minimal, if any spelling or grammatical errors. The best part is that I was able to learn a little about another culture while enjoying a quick and easy read. If I had to change anything, I would’ve liked to have learned a bit more about Asma’s culture.
The 80s probably have me biased because I loved them so much, but I highly recommend this book to any young adult coming of age. The decades and eras may change, but youth and exploration of the world around them usually doesn’t.
***Please note: I was given a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review***
RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
About the Author
Medeia Sharif was born in New York City and presently calls Miami her home. She received her master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Published through various presses, she writes middle grade and young adult short stories and novels. In addition to being a writer, she’s a public school teacher.