Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book, as this book has already been published, I will not share my review on Netgalley at this time.
This middle grade novel in verse somehow merges family, culture, and loss absolutely perfectly. Such an important message with a lovely Author’s Note following the story.
"Call Me Adnan" is a moving middle grade novel in verse that deals with family and grief. Adnan is a stellar table tennis player, until the sudden drowning of his younger brother turns his world upside down. As his family struggles to cope, Adnan finds his passion shattered as well.
This book is written in moving verse and is quite emotional. It's definitely a character-driven story and has some heavier themes. It's a quick read which is always nice! I enjoyed it, though it wasn't my favorite of Reem Faruqi's books.
This book is perfect for fans of "The Order of Things" or readers who've enjoyed Reem's previous books.
This book smacked me in all the feels. I didn't expect the twist to come and was so sad when I read about it. It was hard to read about the family's daily lives going forward but I suppose that is the point that the author is trying to make. Overall, an excellent read!
This is hands down one of the most compelling and important books anyone should read this year, but especially parents with their children to have really important and needed conversations around water safety. There are so many misconceptions and hidden truths about this critical issue when, as this book shows, a tragedy can happen in minutes, if not seconds. Reem has also written some of the most beautiful verse I have read all year. Accessible, concise and deeply moving, her style is indicative of what a great novel in verse can be. The image families and motifs were superb and all of the characters felt deeply human and complex. So excited that a gorgeous, heartbreaking book like this can exist and the representation of a big, complicated Muslim family navigating these issues is so needed and so lovely.
I did not expect a middle school, novel in verse, about Table Tennis, make me cry. This is one of the best I have read this year. Touching, poignant, heart-breaking, laugh out loud, all the way through. All Adnan wants to do is become a Table Tennis Champ. He practices, every day, even twice on "Twosdays", all while helping corral his two year old brother Riz. tolerating his older sister Aaliyah, wishing for an older brother, even though he's about to become a big brother again, surviving 7th grade and dealing with his budding feelings for Summar. Everything is going well until the family gets to have a "Cousin Vacation" in Orlando, where Adnan competes in his first real Tennis Table Tournament, and the families world come crashing down.
I loved all the ways the author developed the story, using the four states of flight terms for each section off the novel: each section after the four stages of flight: thrust, weight, drag, and lift, which describes Adnan & his families feelings throughout the story to a T. Including concrete poetry within the story enhanced the specific sections it was incorporated into. And learning all about Table Tennis, the terminology and how it is truly a game of analysis? loved it! Makes we want to learn more about table tennis!
This was a really moving novel in verse about a boy and his family processing grief. Adnan is a warm, relatable character and his love for his family clearly shines through. Beautiful depiction of a healing family!
Reem Faruqi delivers again. This book made me cry. The characters were well developed and the emotions were really deep. Beautiful and moving.
🏊♀️ Adnan loves table tennis, his family, and the aviation alphabet. He’s color blind, left-handed and has a big sister and little brother, with another sibling on the way. When his family take a summer trip so he can compete in a tennis tournament, an unbelievable tragedy occurs, shattering their life as they know it.
❤️ I don’t like sad stories. Life is hard enough, but the author drew me into this story and I couldn’t stop reading. The verse format is enjoyable and provides a wide enough window into the plot and characters. Most importantly, this story is very hopeful, despite the tragedy.
✨ If you love verse novels and don’t mind a tearjerker, this is a perfect summer story for you. CW for sibling loss and child drowning.
This book was told beautifully in prose. A tragic story of one families fight with tragedy and grief. This book moved me from tears to inspiration for how we can move from grief to hope. Thanks NetGalley for an ARC!!!
I would love to interview Reem for my podcast Raise Your Words. This is a poignant novel and I absolutely loved reading about Adnan.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this middle grade novel in verse.
This was a heart wrenching story that was exceptionally well told in verse. I think students will love this book and be immediately drawn in to Adnan's feelings of both grief and guilt.
Oh, this one packs a truly unexpected punch (at least if you’re like me in this way: see Faruqi has written something new, tear through the book without looking at any plot insights, find yourself accordingly shocked…).
Adnan, the titular m.c., is the endearing voice of this children’s verse novel. He loves paddle tennis, his friends, and especially the members of his immediate family. What he does NOT love is the microaggressing that happens around his name and other small notes that he makes throughout his encounters. He seems to be a fairly typical kid until a truly horrific tragedy strikes their family and changes all of them forever.
I just did not see this central event coming, and for me, that shock remained not only through the read; it’s still lingering. Faruqi handles a horrible situation in a manner that’s appropriate for the intended audience but also honest, and that is a masterful technique on its own: one that Faruqi’s experienced readers will not be surprised to note.
Because of the content, parts of this book are so hard to read, but those who can handle the material should tackle this. I have no question that many readers - young and old alike - will find a lot of sympathy, empathy, and healing of their own through Adnan’s family’s experiences.
Another beautiful book by Faruqi- this one made me cry and carried me through all the stages of grief. A gentle book and one I can see many young kids enjoying. Full of Islam and culture, it is wonderful to read and gorgeously versed.
I really enjoyed this book! The story was really good and I loved the characters! I hope to read more by this author in the future. The poems were beautiful!
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and to the author for the ARC!
This is such a heartfelt book about family and passions. I loved Adnan. I loved how much he loves table tennis and how much he cares for his family. After a tragedy happens, he has to relearn to love his passion and figure out life from here on out.
I loved the verse throughout this book and how it just flowed.
A great book to read together with your children or as a classroom read-aloud.
Thank you NetGalley and the Publisher for this ARC!
Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins Children's Books, HarperCollins, and Reem Faruqi for the opportunity to read Call Me Adnan in exchange for an honest review.
This book is a brilliant page-turner that made me laugh, cry, and contemplate my own life and childhood experiences. Written in poetic verse, Reem's craft is exquisite and brilliant when it comes to making the poetry tell the story in a unique visual way.
I love the diversity in this book. Adnan is the oldest of three in his Muslim family, and he loves table tennis. He also happens to be color blind, which doesn't mean he sees in black and white, but that colors appear differently to him.
Adnan's dream is to become a table tennis champion, and when the opportunity arises, so does that of spending the Eid holiday with his cousins in Florida, where the competition is held. Adnan loves his sister and little brother, his mom and dad, but there is nothing like not only having them around, but being with all his cousins as well!
When Adnan's excitement for competition and a trip to see family wields a tragic accident, he and his family must learn to heal. His passions no longer exist, and guilt consumes him. At such a young age, that is one of the hardest challenges to overcome.
I absolutely love the message in this book, the family bond, the Muslim experience, and the multitudes of diversity that this book brings (the color-blind experience as well as the culture). I can't say enough about how amazing and prominent this novel is. While this is my first book by Faruqi, I have already investigated into her other marvels out there and expect the same brilliance and quality. I certainly have a new favorite author and cannot wait for what she writes next.
An ARC was provided by NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Earlier this year, I read Reem Faruqi’s GOLDEN GIRL (2022). So it seemed only fitting that I should read CALL ME ADNAN (2023) now that the year is ending.
It’s not often that I shed tears when reading a book, much less a middle grade novel. But each page connected me so deeply to the main character because I found myself looking back at my own life—and at my own similar memories and personal experiences—that I couldn’t help but feel kinship with Adnan.
This novel in verse features a main character named Adnan Zakir who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Like many other kids his own age, he loves Coca-Cola, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and his family. But what we discover in the first half of the book is that Adnan has a newfound love: table tennis.
‘Table tennis???’ You might be asking right now. ‘How is that interesting??’ In most cases, I would agree, but page by page, Faruqi artfully reveals bits and pieces of Adnan’s life and familial experiences through verse. When the Zakir family are thrust into a heart-wrenching situation, the author focuses on how this tragedy affects not only the main character and his family, but also the entire community. With just two lines, the author succinctly sums up an unfortunate aspect of human life, comparing it to table tennis:
“…Sometimes you don’t see the ball coming,
It spins right by you…”
Faruqi doesn’t simply dismiss the effect that the tragedy has on each individual; characters don’t just ‘wake up’ and then everything is okay. Instead, she takes the reader by their hand and slowly walks them through the various stages of grief. The author then highlights how the family channels their grief and trauma into community action. Faruqi accepts that grief doesn’t always wither away. She does, however, reveal that grief can be lessened, particularly through our deep connections with the people that we love.
This was an extremely well-thought out manuscript. The plot was meaningful and the book was really engaging. Although poetry is not my area of expertise, the authors use of words, including the comparisons she made, were excellent. Arranged in four (4) parts, the author named each section after the four stages of flight: thrust, weight, drag, and lift, and each part of the novel corresponded with each stage perfectly. Faruqi included a number of resources at the back that both kids and adults will appreciate, including safety resources and a glossary. I especially appreciated how the author ensured that traditional characters had non-traditional aspects. For example, his Imam likes to knit and crochet!
I believe that this book will truly be appreciated by both children and adults alike and will easily find a place in any school or local library. I am certain that this novel will likewise be greeted with open arms by school boards around the nation.
What a heartfelt novel-in-verse about Adnan who loves table tennis and wants to enter the Ultimate Table Tennis Championship Tournament. His enthusiasm for practicing, along with his knowing the aviation alphabet, and his love for his little brother, Rizwan, is heartwarming. Adnan makes it to the finals, and his family is able to go to Florida where cousins live and the tournament is held. When tragedy strikes, everything changes. What can Adnan do?