Book Review: Hana Khan Carries On

Goodreads Blurb:

Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighbourhood. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. But soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening Three Sisters.

When her mysterious aunt and her teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant—who might not be a complete stranger after all.

As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be.

My Thoughts:

Oh. My. God.

I am in love with this book. This would definitely be a book that I would re-read in the future.

I loved that Uzma took her time to build a story that tackles multiple issues while keeping the readers entertained. Ranging from racism to guilt children of immigrant parents face to building a successful career to the stereotypes Muslims around the world have to face and finally, delicious South Asian food! (The FOOD. I repeat. The imagery was so vivid that I was salivating.)

Stories about immigrants are always heart-touching. With my parents being one, I am always in awe at their sacrifice and strength that they’ve put up. Forget a different country but a continent altogether to literally swim with the sharks. Languages that they had to learn when they’re in their 20s. But all this strength does bring guilt and pressure on us, as being the children of immigrants. Which is ever rarely mentioned. I admired the portrayal of Hanan who goes on to battle her mother’s failing restaurant, her sick father, her job security, and at last, her potential love life.

Written by a Muslim author, I am pleased to validate, YES, THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR SO LONG!

The scenes of enduring racism or hate crime made my stomach churn.

Even though Aydin and Hana were rivals that eventually turned into lovers, I loved their journey. Both being Muslims, they were used to showcase different aspects of the culture. From an overly supportive father to a conservative, Uzma touched upon each nook of the culture without it being generalized. Side characters such as Yusuf, Big J, Rashid, Luxmi, and so on, were portrayed with such care and affection. I believe they were all successful in putting out the message that it doesn’t matter if you’re Muslim from Syria, Jewish from Yemen, Hindu from India, or Muslim from India, indifferences only exist if you let them pierce into your life. Ah, it was one of those books that just makes your heart all warm and giddy with its roller-coaster ride.

Let’s not forget Billi Aunty and her MAJOR SECRET STORY! That took me by surprise. Here, I was thinking about how this book would only touch upon the correct portrayal of Muslims but there was also feminisms.

Uzma has stepped up from her previous book which I am really happy about. Part of Ayesha At Last felt predictable to me, but Hana Khan Carries On is entirely different.

A little complain though, why was it never mentioned what Hana’s voice sounded like on her Podcast show? Had it been autotuned? Did she speak normally? This little detail, which I thought carried a lot of weight at the start, eventually faded in the background with a lot of things that happened. So, I suppose I wouldn’t give it a lot of weight. But I am still curious.

There’s lots of love. Banter. Heartache. Secrets. (So. Many. Secrets!) Good food. Drama (Can my Desi folks even live without Drama?) So yes, a whole Indian package that would fill your days with smile and laughter. (Until it ends… :()

My Rating: It’s a 4.6/5.

Content Notices: Death. Racism. Potential Hate Crime.

Audience: Young Adults

Pages: 325, Kindle Edition

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