Tanaz Bhathena was born in India and raised in Saudi Arabia and Canada. She is the author of A Girl Like That and The Beauty of the Moment (forthcoming in 2019). Her short stories have appeared in various journals including Blackbird, Witness and Room. A wanderer at heart, Tanaz can often be found travelling to different countries, learning bits and pieces of a foreign language, and taking way too many photographs. She loves slapstick comedies and any kind of music that makes her dance. She lives in the Toronto area with her family.
A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.
Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.
This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
★ “Bhathena makes an impressive debut with this eye-opening novel about a free-spirited girl in present-day Saudi Arabia.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
★ “Bhathena’s lithe prose effortlessly wends between past and present…A powerful debut.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“Bhathena does something exceptionally difficult and smart in her first book. She draws in readers with an irresistible “Who is she?” premise, only to dismantle it by showing the rarely seen perspective of a teenage girl living in the Middle East…[T]his is the story of a girl you won’t be able to stop thinking about.” — The Globe and Mail
“A Girl Like That is a book which readers will enjoy and will remember long after other novels come and go.” — CM Magazine (****/4)
“A refreshingly nuanced narrative about gender in the Middle East.” — Kirkus
“A Girl Like That is haunting, uncomfortable, and poignant, with persistent characters who stay with the reader, much like the ghosts hovering over the accident at the beginning of the story.” — Quill and Quire
“A Girl Like That is a book framed by loss… Zarin continues to be unapologetically herself – a messy, complicated, brave, and lovely person – right up to the end. One of the most important books I’ve read, Bhathena is a unquestionably a writer to watch.” — Kinsey Foreman, Odyssey Bookshop, MA
“A Girl Like That is unlike any YA book I’ve ever read: a fascinating and disturbing glance into the gender discrimination and double-standards as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl in Saudi Arabia. It raised awareness for me, and is certain to inspire discussion about equality, justice, and basic human rights.” — Jodi Picoult, #1New York Times Bestselling Author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time
“Vivid, intricately woven, and wholly immersive, A Girl Like That is a debut that will leave you both haunted and hopeful. Tanaz Bhathena is masterful at writing complicated girls and the people in their orbits.” — Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts
“Tanaz Bhathena has a rare ability to take a setting that would be unfamiliar to many and make it so instantly and profoundly relatable. This is a shimmering, glowing, radiant novel.” — Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King
“Masterfully constructed and gorgeously written, A Girl Like That is both a page-turner about a ferocious girl fighting the twisted expectations of both family and culture, and a thoughtful meditation on the pain that weighs us down, and the love that lifts us up.” — Laura Ruby, Printz Award-winning author of Bone Gap