A Muslim Teen Quests for Voice and Identity in Sarah Mughal Rana’s Debut “Hope Ablaze”

The book, which is Rana’s debut, has been described as “All My Rage” by Sabaa Tahir meets Elizabeth Acevedo's “The Poet X.”

A Muslim Teen Quests for Voice and Identity in Sarah Mughal Rana’s Debut “Hope Ablaze”
In her debut novel, Sarah Mughal Rana weaves together poetry and prose to tell a story about the power of words.

Sarah Mughal Rana’s upcoming Young Adult (YA) novel “Hope Ablaze” explores a Muslim teen finding her voice in a post-9/11 America. The book, which is Rana’s debut, has been described as “All My Rage” meets “The Poet X.”

Ahead of the book’s publication, it has earned praise as one of the most anticipated YA books of 2024.

“Through a mixture of verse and occasionally didactic prose, Rana effectively portrays the friction between religious freedom and state-sponsored secularism, underpinned by discussion surrounding wrongful incarceration and xenophobia,” Publishers Weekly wrote in their review of the book. “The result is a thought-provoking and provocative novel about faith, family, and friendship.”

Read more about “Hope Ablaze” from the publisher, Wednesday Books at Macmillan:

Nida has always been known as Mamou Abdul-Hafeedh's niece — the poet who will fill her uncle's shoes after he was wrongfully incarcerated during the war on terror. But for Nida, her poetry letters are her heart and sharing so much of herself with a world that stereotypes her faith and her hijab is not an option.
When Nida is illegally frisked at a Democratic Senatorial candidate's political rally, she writes a scathing poem about the politician, never expecting the letter to go viral weeks before Election Day. Nida discovers her poem has won first place in a national contest, a contest she never entered, and her quiet life is toppled. But worst of all, Nida loses her ability to write poetry. In the aftermath of her win, Nida struggles to balance the expectations of her mother, her uncle and her vibrant Muslim community with the person she truly wants to be.
With a touch of magic and poetry sprinkled throughout, Sarah Mughal Rana's ‘Hope Ablaze’ is heartbreaking, often funny and ultimately uplifting, not only celebrating the Islamic faith and Pakistani culture, but simultaneously confronting racism and Islamophobia with unflinching bravery.

Sarah Mughal Rana is a Muslim author who graduated from the University of Toronto and is now pursuing her MPhil in Asian studies at Oxford. She works at the intersection of human rights and Asian policy. She is a BookTok personality and the co-host of “On the Write Track” podcast. Outside of school, she falls down history rabbit holes and trains in traditional martial arts.

“Hope Ablaze” will publish Feb. 27, 2024. It’s not too late to preorder your copy at the link below.

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