Book review: Mirage — by Somaiya Daud

(Flatiron Books)
The first of what promises to be an exciting series, this young adult novel by Somaiya Daud is a genuine delight. Amani is in the midst of celebrating her majority night, a rite of passage for 18-year-old women, with beloved friends and family, when she is taken prisoner by the brutal Vathek empire. She’s to become the body double for the soon-to-be-crowned, but widely loathed, half-Vathek Princess Maram, a life far from the one she dreamed she would have. At first, the cruelty she endures threatens to break her, but hope rises when she forms an alliance with Idris, who is, unfortunately, betrothed to Maram. Amani learns she does have choices, even if the wrong ones could mean her death, and continues to hold true to the values instilled in her by her family, imparting that wisdom to others around her as well. Rooted in Arabic poetry, and Moroccan-inspired, this debut is rich with lush, poetic language, and it’s stirring while being remarkably fun and absorbing. Daud is a twenty-something writer, PhD candidate at the University of Washington and a former bookseller, and the fantasy world she has created is one you will definitely enjoy and one you won’t want to leave. 
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
Young Adult Novels for Everyone
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Warcross by Marie Lu
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
The War Outside by Monica Hesse
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

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