Summary: 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 so much Colored Pages Tours for selecting me to be a part of this tour! I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Click on the banner below to view the schedule of this tour.
Title: Hana Khan Carries On
Author: Uzma Jalaluddin
Publisher: Harper Avenue
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
It’s a lovely feeling when a book meets the expectations you set. Hana Khan Carries On did that and more.
Hana Khan Carries On follows Hana, an intern at a radio station, host of a podcast and part time worker at her mother’s restaurant Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, which isn’t doing so well lately. Everything seems fine until competition arrives in the form of a restaurant opening right across it and Hana’s determined to save her mother’s restaurant.
I adore the South-Asian representation in the book so much!! With Hana working in a restaurant we’re bound to get numerous delicious descriptions of desi cuisine that made me hungry in the middle of the night. It was a delight to read about Muslim traditions, tight-knit communities and religion. Though I thought it would be a cute contemporary, the author weaves in issues of Islamophobia and microaggressions faced by ethnic minorities and immigrants in an interesting way.
❛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.❜
Uzma Jalaluddin’s voice felt so authentic and fresh to read. Hana Khan, the titular character’s journey was fun to follow. I loved how strong-willed she was, a brown girl trying to find her footing in the world. Choice is a major theme in the book — from Hana choosing to pursue a career in journalism to choosing to not broadcast about only the stereotypes surrounding marginalised people. Hana’s persistence to stay true to herself and her community and her ambition was absolutely admirable.
Learning about the familial and friendly relationships was a wholesome experience. Her aunt, Kawkab Khala is a fabulous character with an inspiring backstory. Her cousin, Rashid who provided comic elements in the story and her father, who supported her dreams as well as her relationship with her mother, brother and sister in law added to the heartfelt-ness of the story. Kawkab Khala and Rashid particularly stood out to me and their scenes were so fun to read about. Though I do wish we got to see more of her friends, Yusuf and Lily.
Her rivals to tolerating each other to lovers relationship with Aydin was honestly so cute. They had me eagerly waiting for more interactions! Their romance isn’t central to the plot but I loved their conversations as anonymous virtual acquaintances and the banter as restaurant rivals.
One prominent aspect of was the importance of preserving family ties, history and stories across countries. The family and neighbourhood drama, secret family history that interested Hana and the effect that changes in relationships has, I loved it. Addition of Hana’s podcast episodes and commentary on attitudes and social pressures existing in South-Asian communities made it all the more engaging.
I really enjoyed reading Hana Khan Carries On! If you’re interested in a heartwarming story about Halal restaurants, family ties, empowering characters and great Indian-Muslim rep with a dash of rom-com, I highly suggest this book.
I am the author of AYESHA AT LAST (2018), a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in a Toronto Muslim community. My second novel HANA KHAN CARRIES ON (2021) is inspired by the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and set in rival halal restaurants. I also write a funny parenting column for The Toronto Star, and have written for The Atlantic. I live in Toronto with my husband and two sons. Find out more at www.uzmajalaluddin.com and thanks for visiting!
Three finished copies will be provided. Click here to enter.