Cover Image: It Won't Always Be Like This

It Won't Always Be Like This

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Member Reviews

It Won't Always Be Like This is a touching memoir about a young girl, Malaka Gharib, who faces difficulties growing up in a foreign country with different customs. The book explores her journey of self-discovery and the importance of family amidst cultural challenges.
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I liked this graphic novel memoir! It was an interesting storyline over many years of her life and I enjoyed the art style as well.
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Many thanks to the author and publisher for the advanced read; these are my honest opinions.

Over the course of her adolescence and into young adulthood, Malaka documents an intimate perspective of her summers in Egypt with her father and his new family.

Being half Filipino and half Egyptian, while simultaneously growing up in America, Malaka struggles to find where her identity lies, though she does seem more inclined to her American side. As she navigates both cultures, she runs into a few different obstacles, i.e., her father wanting her to cover up more and be "nicer." Whereas she could freely date and move-in with her non-Muslim boyfriend back home, in Egypt, she can't even mention her intentions without being heavily criticized.

Surprisingly, this story isn't just about Malaka, but also about her stepmother Hala. Hala also experiences a number of different changes, as the years go by. Once being a free spirit, she gets captured by the mundane woes of marriage and motherhood. She is complacent with her situation until she decides to do something about it, with Malaka's encouragement. 

Overall, this graphic novel was incredibly intriguing, but seemed to fall just a bit short. While Malaka attempted to touch on various hard topics, her perspectives felt surface level - granted, her age, at the time, could be a reason why. I would have also preferred to dive deeper into Hala's past and where she ended up but can understand her wanting a certain level of privacy.

Some of the more emotional charged scenes were well written - Malaka telling her father how she really felt about his new family. And I personally really enjoyed the artistic style of this memoir. 

It was a quick read, but still packed with a number of thought-provoking scenarios. I would recommend to other readers.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this excellent graphic story detailing the author’s split childhood between her Filipino family in Southern California and her Egyptian family in Cairo.
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Another lovely graphic memoir from Gharib. This was a beautiful story on how her relationship with her dad changed over the years as she grew. She touched on how she wanted to be involved in her dad's side of the family and learning how to navigate her relationship with her stepmother and her step-siblings.
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This was an interesting read about family relations and girlhood, and I enjoyed following Malaka's story and her changing relations with the people around her across the years. It takes courage sharing one's childhood and growing up with such a wide audience.
The art style was not exactly what I had expected and I would have enjoyed some more details, this was definitely the weaker part of the graphic novel for me.
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This tore at my heart strings. As someone who has dealt with the struggles of blended families, this hit a bit close to home. The graphics were gorgeous and the overall story was good so beautifully and with so much grace.
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I love a good graphic novel memoir; "It Won't Always Be Like This" is no exception. It's a wonderfully in-depth look at the life over years of a girl stuck between cultures. As a mixed race, multi-cultural kid myself, I can relate.

I enjoyed reading about how Malaka's family dynamics changed over the years. Books that give a look to a life with that much of a span are always fun to read, because I think you can better see the impact time has on all things.

My main criticism is the art style; it seems to straddle the line between "this is my authentic style" vs. "I just didn't feel like drawing those hands correctly this time". As a lover of graphic novels, the art in this one is definitely on the unrefined side.

But content-wise, I wasn't left lacking. Great story, absolutely recommend.
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Enlightening graphic novel following a young girl's growth between two homes, as she learns to straddle two very different worlds. Quick, interesting read.
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Thank you to Ten Speed Press and Netgalley for an ARC of this book.

I was surprised by how good this book was, I was not too fond of the design of the drawing but the story made up for it.
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I thought the artwork in this book was lovely. A raw and vulnerable story about what it is to growing up, belonging and loving people and places and all the complexities that comes with growing up and navigating different cultures. If you love graphic novels, and are looking for a quick, meaningful read, then this book is for you!
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really enjoyed this! i loved the sketchy, colourful art style and the way the story focuses on malaka's relationship with hala and her family dynamics. something just felt like it was missing, though. i would have liked a bit more introspection maybe, and less chronicling of different events. and I think more time with hala would have packed in more of a punch with the ending. still, a thoughtful, vibrant read! 

*this ARC was provided to me via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion*
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Oh my goodness! Now this was gut-wrenching and the art work— wow!

Although it was a shorter memoir aside from others, it showed so many emotions and really portrays the reality and experience of immigrants who sacrifice a lot. And the drawings and art was made amazingly for this novel.
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It Won't Always Be Like This is a great follow-up tp Gharib's "I Was Their American Dream." This book was more emotional than the prior one. I really loved the exploration of culture, identity, and not feeling quite right between two worlds.
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I know slice-of-life memoirs aren't for everyone, but Malaka Gharib is an auto-read for me. Loved her first book and loved this one too.
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Thank you Netgalley for letting me read and review this graphic novel. I loved following the characters. The art style was pretty. The storyline was interesting, and it hit hard.
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I received this book complimentary from NetGalley but all opinions are my own. 

I loved this. A new perspective, a fresh story. I liked how Gharib framed her story and the images. It was interesting and fun. I appreciated her love for her family and how she told her own story. I hope to read another graphic novel by her again someday.
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My Thoughts:
Put this memoir on another beach, on an island in the middle of the Pacific, and this is my story and the awkward relationship between my own father and the step mom that I eventually grew to respect and share my hopes and plans with as a young adult. As both of us are parents and now grandparents, I think my relationship with my step mother is closer than my relationship with my father in some ways. For NPR editor Malaka Gharib, her awkward relationship with her father and his new wife is a surprise when she visits Egypt for her 9th summer and finds that he has remarried. When her father and mother got divorced, Malaka was used to spending summers in Egypt with just her dad, but over the next decade, Malaka just hated how much she did not fit in with their new growing family. She struggles with her identity, with her relationship with her family, and especially with her relationship with her step mother, Hala. 

Malaka, her father and Hala do an interview with NPR  that explains how although in her journal she started counting down until she could leave for California, in hindsight she realizes how much has changed and that "It wonʻt always be like this."

From the Publisher:
An intimate graphic memoir about an American girl growing up with her Egyptian father's new family, forging unexpected bonds and navigating adolescence in an unfamiliar country—from the award-winning author of I Was Their American Dream.
“What a joy it is to read Malaka Gharib’s It Won’t Always Be Like This, to have your heart expertly broken and put back together within the space of a few panels, to have your wonder in the world restored by her electric mind.”—Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
It’s hard enough to figure out boys, beauty, and being cool when you’re young, but even harder when you’re in a country where you don’t understand the language, culture, or social norms.
Nine-year-old Malaka Gharib arrives in Egypt for her annual summer vacation abroad and assumes it'll be just like every other vacation she's spent at her dad's place in Cairo. But her father shares news that changes everything: He has remarried. Over the next fifteen years, as she visits her father's growing family summer after summer, Malaka must reevaluate her place in his life. All that on top of maintaining her coolness!

Malaka doesn't feel like she fits in when she visits her dad--she sticks out in Egypt and doesn't look anything like her fair-haired half siblings. But she adapts. She learns that Nirvana isn't as cool as Nancy Ajram, that there's nothing better than a Fanta and a melon-mint hookah, and that her new stepmother, Hala, isn't so different from Malaka herself.
It Won’t Always Be Like This is a touching time capsule of Gharib’s childhood memories—each summer a fleeting moment in time—and a powerful reflection on identity, relationships, values, family, and what happens when it all collides.

Publisher information:

Author: Malaka Gharib

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Publication date: September 20, 2022
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i really really liked this! i loved the way it ended and how it addressed some topics, ultimately it all leads up to being able to grab life by the shoulders, take the courage you need to, appreciate moments with family.
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I found this graphic memoir to be flat. There's a lot of stasis in the stories here, and often no resolution or follow-up. It feels like a series of observations that never lead to action or change, and there's never any sense of deep emotion--the relationships seem superficial and strained, going nowhere.
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