Title:- American Fever
Author:- Dur E Aziz Amna
Date published:- will be published on August 16th 2022
Publisher:- Hodder and Stoughton
No. of pages:- 259 pages
Overall rating:- 5/5
On a year-long exchange program in rural Oregon, a Pakistani student, sixteen-year-old Hira, must swap Kashmiri chai for volleyball practice and try to understand why everyone around her seems to dislike Obama. A skeptically witty narrator, Hira finds herself stuck between worlds. The experience is memorable for reasons both good and bad; a first kiss, new friends, racism, Islamophobia, homesickness. Along the way Hira starts to feel increasingly unwell until she begins coughing up blood, and receives a diagnosis of tuberculosis, pushing her into quarantine and turning her newly established home away from home upside down.
American Fever is a compelling and laugh-out-loud funny novel about adolescence, family, otherness, religion, the push-and-pull of home. It marks the entrance on the international literary scene of the brilliant fresh voice of Dur e Aziz Amna.
This is one of the most remarkable novels I have read.
Hira, a Pakistani girl from Rawalpindi who gets a scholarship as an exchange student for one year to attend Lakeview High School in a small town in Oregon. The story is basically about Hira, living with an American host family, Kelly and her daughter, Amy, her experience in an American high school.
I actually enjoyed reading this author’s writing–it was engaging and the author did a good job of drawing the reader into the story. Not only that–I like how very realistic the whole story really is. The story is set in a time when Islamphobia is at its peak after September 11th and I like how it was portrayed in the book–racism, biased views that many Americans have towards Middle Eastern and other countries. Hira’s character really reminded me of my own experience as an international student in the United States so kudos for the author for making it real! Hira’s character is a very memorable and likable character and as a reader, you start liking the character. I also like how TB diagnosis and the fact that Hira was quarantined, and a loss of family member back in Pakistan changed Hira’s perspectives about life. Besides the sensitive issues, there were the typical teenage stuff–like first kiss, making new friends and above all, exploring American culture through the eyes of an international student.
For people who are sensitive and think that America is the best place to live on earth–refrain from reading this book as this book realistically tells you how immigrants and international students face in America. But if you are someone who had that sort of experience (like I did) then this book is perfect for you–worth five stars!!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Hodder for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.
Dur e Aziz Amna is from Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Financial Times, and Al Jazeera, among others. She won the 2021 Salam Award and the 2019 Financial Times / Bodley Head Essay Prize, and was longlisted for the 2020 Sunday Times Short Story Award. She graduated from Yale College and the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, AMERICAN FEVER, is forthcoming from Sceptre in the UK and Arcade in the US (August 2022).