Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win

A Novel

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Pub Date 01 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2022
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books


Most Anticipated YA by Buzzfeed

A fresh spin on the cult-classic Election meets Darius the Great Is Not Okay in Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win when an international incident crashes into a high school election, and Jasmine is caught between doing the right thing and chasing her dream.

It’s 1979, and Jasmine Zumideh is ready to get the heck out of her stale, Southern California suburb and into her dream school, NYU, where she’ll major in journalism and cover New York City’s exploding music scene.

There’s just one teeny problem: Due to a deadline snafu, she maaaaaaybe said she was Senior Class President-Elect on her application—before the election takes place. But honestly, she’s running against Gerald Thomas, a rigid rule-follower whose platform includes reinstating a dress code—there’s no way she can lose. And she better not, or she’ll never get into NYU.

But then, a real-life international incident turns the election upside down. Iran suddenly dominates the nightly news, and her opponent seizes the opportunity to stir up anti-Iranian hysteria at school and turn the electorate against her. Her brother, Ali, is no help. He’s become an outspoken advocate for Iran just as she’s trying to downplay her heritage.

Now, as the white lie she told snowballs into an avalanche, Jasmine is stuck between claiming her heritage or hiding it, standing by her outspoken brother or turning her back on him, winning the election or abandoning her dreams for good.

Told with biting insight and fierce humor, Susan Azim Boyer's Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win is a fresh, unforgettable story of one Iranian-American young woman’s experience navigating her identity, friendship, family, her future, and a budding romance, all set against life-changing historical events with present-day relevance.

Most Anticipated YA by Buzzfeed

A fresh spin on the cult-classic Election meets Darius the Great Is Not Okay in Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win when an international incident crashes into a high school...

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ISBN 9781250833686
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 65 members

Featured Reviews

As a mixed girl who has eaten frosting right from the container as a result of an emotional spiral many times, I fell in love with Jasmine Zumideh. I flew through this book in one day. It was fast-paced, and driven by such a clear voice. Jasmine is the picture of every messy young girl trying to balance belonging and self-truth. I loved her genuine connection with her friends, and Mike is the best high school love interest one could imagine for themselves. Reading this book, I was overjoyed that there was, as she calls it, “half’n’half” representation. I had never read a YA book before this that allowed such exploration of the complicated contradictions that lie in mixed heritage. Though the story takes place in the 70s, the sentiments about identity rang true for me in 2022.

Deeply reminiscent of the enormity of everything at 18, Jasmine leads you through this story with an earnest mindset, and room to grow. She is complex, caring, and sometimes self-indulgent, and you root for her the entire time. She is the heroine a young Emma would’ve really loved and seen herself in. Reading this now at 21, this book inspired me to give myself and others a little bit more grace. Susan Azim Boyer’s writing was sincere and beautiful. I hope to read more from her in the future, and hope to meet more characters as bold and brave as Jasmine Zumideh.

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This is an inspiring story that follows Jasmine Zumideh - an ambitious Iranian American student. It’s smart, funny, and charming, and perfectly describes high school and hoping for a better future.

This book takes place during the Iran Hostage Crisis and includes a lot of relevant themes. I’ve never read a YA book that was set during this period before and I was really impressed by this one. I enjoyed seeing Jasmine grow throughout and how she changed.

I also really enjoyed the details that went into making it feel like the 70’s. Jasmine dreams of becoming a rock journalist, which reminded me a lot of Almost Famous, and I loved her commentary throughout on music. Her ambition with this reminded me a lot of high school and that feeling that you can do anything in the future.

Jasmine may have made some bad decisions, but she’s definitely a character that we all can root for. It was a really inspiring story and I enjoyed seeing her start to love both of her cultures. Overall, I highly recommend this one.

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This was such a charming and engaging read. I love imperfect, well-intentioned characters who make bad choices and then have to get themselves out of the mess they create, and Jasmine Zumideh perfectly fit the bill. One small, understandable misstep leads to another and another, while she wrestles with deeply relatable questions about her identity and how to reconcile her heritage with the relentless, often deeply brutal messaging of the world. Azim Boyer balances out the hard politics with lots of humour, and while she uses the student election to parallel a lot of shady US politics of the era, she also gives us a believable and easy-to-root-for heroine who grapples with crushes, strained friendships, college applications, family bickering, part-time jobs, and which shoes to wear to the school dance. I loved the ways the Big Issues were braided with the small stresses, because that's the way life works, and I definitely felt the rising tension as the student election neared and Jasmine dug herself deeper into a hole no could pull her out of. With a well-rounded supporting cast and a big heart, this one's definitely "a winner."

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OH MY GOSH! I think I just found my new favorite book. This was ABSOLUTLY amazing and I can’t wait to rave to everyone about this!

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This was an engaging story and fun read as we follow Jasmine and her internal conflict of seemingly opposing identities. Well-intentioned characters that bad not-the-best choices and work their way through the arising conflicts always reel me in to see what happens next. You will laugh and tear up at this charming story

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This book is a real winner! Jasmine is a perfectly imperfect high school senior in 1979. She is pursuing her dream of attending NYU to become a music journalist. She has claimed to be the class president, which she fully expects to be a reality until the 1979 Iranian hostage throws a wrench in her plans. Her political opponent seizes upon anti-Iranian sentiment and her younger brother becomes a vocal opponent of US foreign policy, making it impossible for Jasmine to continue downplaying her identity. The book explores timeless questions of identity and acceptance in a historical setting that perfectly brings these issues to the forefront. Plus, the late 70s references are fun, especially for someone who lived through that era. Although the topics in this novel are serious, the book is also laugh-out-loud funny and you really root for the main character despite, our perhaps because of, her questionable decision making and goofs.

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<i> eARC provided by NetGalley </i>

After lying (or, "accelerating the truth") about being senior class president on her NYU application, Jasmine Zumideh is more than determined to win the election IRL. She thinks it will be a breeze... but then, the Iran Hostage Crisis throws a wrench in all her plans. Suddenly, Jasmine is seen as the "I-rain-ian" candidate, particularly when her younger brother starts speaking out against US foreign policy. Jasmine finds herself embroiled in a toxic race against Gerald, her hyper-patriotic, xenophobic classmate who uses Jasmine's "foreign"-ness to campaign against her at every turn.

Jasmine is a sharp-witted protagonist who makes some excruciatingly poor decisions over the course of this novel. Basically, she's a realistic and engaging teenage character. Her struggles, big and small, will resonate with teen readers everywhere, and I found her feelings of "embarrassment" to be particularly poignant and timely. Racialized kids in America have, time and time again, been held collectively responsible for "their" (note the aggressively passive-aggressive quotation marks) countries' actions, and it's a really difficult thing to navigate at any age. JASMINE ZUMIDEH NEEDS A WIN portrays that experience in an honest, heartbreaking, and often funny (yes, laugh-out-loud funny) way. I highly recommend picking up a copy.

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JASMINE ZUMIDEH NEEDS A WIN is an excellent YA contemporary that I couldn't put down. It is the perfect combination of high drama, hilarity, and important issues of identity and racism that is an absolute must-read. I adored Jasmine as a character--she is authentic, so funny, easy to root for, and it is a delight to read from her perspective. Despite the book taking place in 1979, all of the issues are relevant and important to today. The characters are amazing, the voice is so strong and funny, and I really couldn't have asked for more from a contemporary YA.

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Wow. This was a great read. I mean, I don’t know that it would be for everyone, but it was set in my formative years, featured music that I know and love, was focused around the Iran Hostage Crisis, and was just generally exactly what I needed to read right now. It was very interesting and well-paced and I love love love Auntie Minah. 💜📚

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A really fun read. I love inclusive YA reads and this being in the 80s was everything I could have wanted. I’ve read several 70s/80s vibes books lately that felt like they didn’t meet the mark, but this one did. It was charming, the balance of politics and humor was lovely.

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JASMINE ZUMIDEH is a whip-smart and hilarious story of identity and school elections. I was laughing the whole way through, but also wincing as Jasmine gets herself into more and more trouble. A lot of us in diaspora communities struggle with our identities, but that struggle is even more heightened when something out of our control happens in the world, and suddenly a particular group is regarded with suspicion. It happened with Covid, it happened with 9/11, and in JASMINE ZUMIDEH it happens with the Iran hostage crisis. Jasmine is just trying to win a school election, but suddenly nobody can talk about anything besides the hostages and Iran. She does her best to take the spotlight off her heritage, but in the process she makes a lot of questionable choices that start snowballing. It's savvy storytelling and so very compelling. Highly recommended!!

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This novel is a total breath of fresh air! An absorbing read that brought me right back to the 80's and a meaningful depiction of the Iranian hostage crisis through the eyes of an Iranian-American teen. Highly recommend!

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It was a struggle to put this realistic historical fiction down. I'm a sucker for stories featuring young journalists, political commentary, and moral gray areas. This book belongs in the hands of any reader craving fast-paced realistic fiction that's full of drama.

Set in 1979 Southern California, Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win follows an aspiring journalist who's heart is set on NYU. It's a must for becoming an awesome journalist a music magazine like Creem. To ensure her acceptance, Jasmine submits for early decision and fudges her transcript to say she's senior class president. Now she just has to win the election.

Jasmine enlists the help of two friends to run her campaign, and everything is going well until the Iranian Hostage Crisis hits the headlines. Suddenly, the senior class election becomes a referendum on anti-Iranian hate versus an understanding of the complex history of America's interference in Iran. Jasmine is Iranian-American, and her heritage is getting in the way of NYU. Soon Jasmine is trapped in a web of lies, political sabotage, and a crisis of integrity.

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What a story! I love when the main character is imperfect but well intentioned. She makes bad choices and then has to get herself out of the mess of her own doing. She wrestles with relatable and deep questions that are prevalent in our world today. The supporting characters were great too and helped evolve Jasmine as a character. Heartfelt story for sure!

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This was such an incredible, impactful read. I loved getting to know Jasmine. Her ambitiousness and growth is so great to watch and she was simply so easy to root for. Even when she made some bad decisions, I was still on her side and wanted to see her succeed. The parallels to US politics of the time were also so powerful and really made a statement. The 70s references were so cute as well! Even though I didn't grow up then, it was still really fun to see references to life at the time that just made the story more fleshed out and realistic. Overall, this was a lovely and impactful read that I would recommend to anyone!

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