A review by mspilesofpaper
Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

emotional funny lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Hana Khan loves stories and her family, which is why she works as an unpaid intern at the local radio station, helps out in her mother's halal restaurant, and hosts regularly her anonymously-held podcast about being a brown Muslim girl. And, of course, having a flirty viral relationship with her no. 1 listener: StanleyP. So, when competition in the form of a flashy halal burger restaurant, and with 6" fellow Desi and Muslim Aydin, her world spirals. Turns out that not everything is as it appears.

Hana Khan Carries On is first and foremost a rom-com with a POC and Muslim cast. Except for three side characters, all characters are people of colour and Muslims. One side character is a Jew from Yemen, the second side character is a Catholic Italian-Canadian, and the third side character is a white man (no religion mentioned for him). And while it is a rom-com, the author also weaves into the story what it means to be a young POC and Muslim in Canada. Personally, I got an immersive insight into Hana's culture and experience from her point of view, which is likely representative of how POC and Muslims in Canada (and around the world) feel. While the majority of the book is relatively light-hearted, it still tackled racism (the everyday kind at work in the form of 'well-meant comments' but also the extreme kind from Nazis and AltRight groups), Islamophobia and how stereotypes, that others assume as representation, affect people. In addition, Jalaluddin also discusses one's identity within the family and society, and how expectations and traditions affect the building of your own identity. Turns out, finding your own voice is a time-consuming process that involves more than one person.

Only four stars because despite having adult characters, they felt sometimes slightly like YA characters. Hana is 24, Aydin is 27, and yet they gave me the feeling of being barely 18 years old when it came to some of their actions.