2018 International Book Awards Book Suggestions for YA’s

In this post I will be discussing the books An Acquaintance by Saba Sayed and One-Two by Igor Eliseev, which became finalists in the Fiction: Young Adult Literature category and the Fiction: Multicultural category, respectively, of the 2018 International Book Awards (International Book Awards, 2018). The first book I want to discuss is An Acquaintance by Saba Sayed. This novel centers around a high school aged Muslim girl named Sarah, who has a close relationship with her father, brother, and her masjid. After a new white boy/soccer star comes to town, she finds herself falling for him after he defends her against some Islamophobic students. Now, Sarah must decide what means more to her–her religion or her relationship with the new boy. Perhaps it is somewhat regressive that Sarah cannot have both, but the book ultimately explores the importance of her religion among America’s Western ideals. Sarah has to deal with criticism and rumors from close friends and members of her masjid, even though the most her and the new boy do is hold hands. (The Ideal Muslim Man, 2018). This book demonstrates that discrimination can exist even within cultures, and displays how difficult it can be to stay true to one’s own culture while inhabiting another. I think this book could help young adults see the internal struggles of their marginalized classmates and give insight into the additional hardships they face solely based on where they are from.

The next book I want to discuss is One-Two by Igor Eliseev. This novel centers around conjoined twins Hope and Faith as they navigate their life in 1980s-1990s Russia. Abandoned by their parents at birth, the girls grew up in a foster home and became accustomed to the cruel ridicule and judgment that they come to expect of others now. However, when a chance at separation surgery makes itself known, the girls embark on a journey which causes them to weigh their internal conflicts with the societal burden that they face (Glagoslav Publications, 2018). Ultimately, this book explores what it means to be different in society while also providing cultural education ans insight as the book is set in Russia.

I think both of these books could become an essential part of a school curriculum as they demonstrate cultural competency and explore human interaction and nature, which is a pivotal subject for young adults to learn about.

Works Cited

Glagoslav Publications. (2018). One-Two Igor Eliseev. Retrieved from http://www.glagoslav.com/en/Book/173/One-Two.html

The Ideal Muslim Man. (2018, March 10). Book Review: An Acquaintence. [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://theidealmuslimman.com/2018/03/10/book-review-acquaintance/

International Book Awards. (2018). Full Results Listing by Category. Retrieved from http://www.internationalbookawards.com/2018awardannouncement.html

Eliseev, I. (2016). One-Two. London, UK: Glagoslav Publications.

Sayed, S. (2017). An Acquaintance. Daybreak Press.

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