ARC Reviews

Hana Khan Carries on by Uzma Jalaluddin – ARC Review –

From the author of Ayesha at Last comes a sparkling new rom-com for fans of “You’ve Got Mail,” set in two competing halal restaurants

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.

Thank you Berkley and Edelweiss for an arc in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I couldn’t pull myself away from this book. It was so immersive and engaging and I loved it 💙

This might be a bit long, I’ll start with favorite part of Hana Khan Carries on and then something I’ve really wanted to say for a good while.

I wanted to tell diverse stories that made a difference, that framed personal narratives in a way that allowed people to think about the world in a whole new light. I knew from experience that those narratives needed to be told by people on the inside looking out, because for too long they had been told by people on the outside looking in.

Hana Khan was a very lovable main character. She was realistically imperfect, Aydin too, and I enjoyed seeing things from her point of view. I love that you can see her make mistakes, fix them, learn from them, and do better. Her character growth was wonderful. I love her loyalty and love for her family, community, and her journey to telling the stories of her heart, stories that represent her people the right way. I love how the book talked about how someone representation could do more harm than good and it’s sadly what her bosses pushed her to do. Wanting to broadcast more diverse stories and doing it in a way that hurts the people you’re supposedly trying to include. I love that Hana was brave and took a stance, and I loved the end of her journey.

I want to be included and celebrated. I want nuanced and plentiful stories to be told about my people, and I don’t want it to mean something when one of us breaks through, because there are so many of us breaking through, all the time, in every field.

The romance was subtle and adorable. You have the ‘You’ve got mail’ situation going with the two rival restaurants shenanigans, but while Aydin is supposed to be the enemy, Hana can’t help be feel attracted to him. There’s more to Aydin that meets the eye and I liked how he too made mistakes, acknowledged it, and vowed to do better. I felt bad for him, with the way things are with his father. It’s complex and I like the decisions he made in the end. I like how he slowly fell for the Golden Crescent community (and Hana), how he helped out later on. He was, perhaps unknowingly, looking for a place like this, for a home. And I’m glad he found Golden Crescent.

I liked the banter between Aydin and Hana, both as themselves and as AnaBGR and StanleyP.
I adore the tiny things, like radio Keychains and characters reading each other’s favorite books and the book delivered on that end. It was super cute and I really enjoyed it.

Then you tell me your favorite color so I can send you flowers, your favorite place so I can take you there, your favorite book so I can read it just so we can argue about it. I know you want to work in radio, and I plan to cheer you on every step of the way. I might even listen to TSwift, if you insist.

I also loooved the side characters, like Rashid and Kawkab Khala are just iconic and I want more, we need a Rashid book. I need to know what that family business is 😂
And of course I love Hana’s mom, a strong reselient woman who loves her family and cared for them in all the ways she can. I love Hana’s bond with her father, and I love all the other people in her community we get glimpses of.

The book touches on Islamphobia and racism and these parts made me shiver. I can’t say much without spoiling but it made me so sad and heartbroken, seeing what Hana (and later her family and community) went through because of the hate some people insist on spreading. I hate that my nation goes through this on a daily basis because of ignorance and hate and I liked how Uzma touched on the matter while also talking about joy and hope and passions and love and laughter and all the other important parts of life.

This was a book about family, community and amazing strong Muslim women. It was about fighting for your passion and finding your place in life without letting go of your roots, your identity. It was about home and the people who make it so. It’s about Hana and her people, and I loved reading all about it 💙

Books like this one, written about my people by one of us, written with respect and love for our beliefs, written with proper presentation, are so so precious. Books about both the problems we face in a world that consistently fights us as well as our joy and normal lives.
We need SO MANY MORE books like this.

I don’t get why it feels too much when I say I want GOOD representation. I want unapologetically Muslim characters , ones who are proud of their nation and communities, and stories that give both the respect they deserve. I don’t want unrealistic perfect Muslim characters, our religion is not about that. We are humans, we are flawed and vastly different from each other, we approach things in different ways. I don’t want perfection, all I ask is more stories like this and enough books and characters disrespecting our beliefs and culture, saying or showing that the only way to live is by letting go of all these important, integral parts of us, our identity, and be more like this or that, doing it all at the expense of those who choose to uphold these things unapologetically, constantly painting them in bad light like the world does to us on a daily basis.

So I’m thankful for books like Hana Khan Carries on. And I really hope to see more and more of them published soon.

I really really enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the next book Uzma has for us!!

Have you read Hana Khan Carries on? Let’s chat below!!

2 thoughts on “Hana Khan Carries on by Uzma Jalaluddin – ARC Review –

  1. Wonderful review!! 😍 I agree so much with your feelings about respectful rep. I’m very excited to read this one! 💖


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