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Skunk Girl

If Nina Khan were to rate herself on the unofficial Pakistani prestige point system – the one she’s sure all the aunties and uncles use to determine the most attractive marriage prospects for their children – her scoring might go something like this:

+2 points for getting excellent grades
–3 points for failing to live up to expectations set by genius older sister
+4 points If Nina Khan were to rate herself on the unofficial Pakistani prestige point system – the one she’s sure all the aunties and uncles use to determine the most attractive marriage prospects for their children – her scoring might go something like this:

+2 points for getting excellent grades
–3 points for failing to live up to expectations set by genius older sister
+4 points for dutifully obeying parents and never, ever going to parties, no matter how antisocial that makes her seem to everyone at Deer Hook High
–1 point for harboring secret jealousy of her best friends, who are allowed to date like normal teenagers
+2 points for never drinking an alcoholic beverage
–10 points for obsessing about Asher Richelli, who talks to Nina like she’s not a freak at all, even though he knows that she has a disturbing line of hair running down her back

In this wryly funny debut novel, the smart, sassy, and utterly lovable Nina Khan tackles friends, family, and love, and learns that it’s possible to embrace two very different cultures – even if things can get a little bit, well, hairy. . more

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Skunk Girl is the emotional journey of a teenager called Nina.

Nina lives in small-town Deer Hook, population 11,250. In her school, with it’s expected coterie of snobbish cheerleaders, handsome jocks and loving (but sometimes clueless) friends, brown-skinned Nina feels like the odd-one out.

The fact that she is a Pakistani-Muslim and comes from a conservative household means that she’s often envious of the freedom that her friends take for granted. While being a fairly intelligent studen Skunk Girl is the emotional journey of a teenager called Nina.

Nina lives in small-town Deer Hook, population 11,250. In her school, with it’s expected coterie of snobbish cheerleaders, handsome jocks and loving (but sometimes clueless) friends, brown-skinned Nina feels like the odd-one out.

The fact that she is a Pakistani-Muslim and comes from a conservative household means that she’s often envious of the freedom that her friends take for granted. While being a fairly intelligent student herself, she has to constantly face comparisons with her super nerd, Harvard attending sister : Sonia. Nina suffers the secret pangs of being a fairly-hairy teenager and the added shock of discovering a thick strip of soft hair running down the center of her back (ergo, the title). She isn’t allowed out on weekends and is constantly under her parents’ radar, lest she becomes ‘Americanized’ or as her aunt would scathingly put it,”umreecanized”.

So what happens when you throw in an handsome Italian boy called Asher Richelli who despite being wooed by the most popular girl (and Nina’s nemesis), appears to be interested in the go-nowhere Nina?

I liked the book. I really did. Far more than I had anticipated. Coming from a fairly conservative South-Indian family myself, I associated with Nina’s teenage frustrations. And maybe I enjoyed it more for the trips down memory-lane that it took me. I read out snarky sections to my mum and she gave me the cheeky smile cum weary resignation, as we remembered similar incidents.

Many might complain that Nina whined. A Lot. Let me just tell you that it’s NOT an exaggeration. I whined and whinged. An embarrassing LOT! Maybe now, as an adult, I understand where my parents were coming from. Evolved thought-processes have taken their time to settle in. But yep, teendom was an angry canvas of red-faced me, bawling out at the unfairness of it all.

Nina Khan’s story is believable and entertaining. It has a nice vein of self-deprecating humour running through it. The ending could either be termed as realistic or a bit surprising, consider your outlook. Either which way, it’s a story by an author who has immersed herself into her plot and used it to maximum effect.
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I’m actually going to start this review by telling you a little bit about me. Just trust me and go with it. I read lots of blogs, but I very seldom read through the actual reviews. I hate being spoiled and even though most bloggers give adequate spoiler warnings, I’d rather be completely surprised when I pick up a book. So, you will often hear see me say that I had no idea what a book was about before picking it up. I also never go to the library with a list. I go, pick up any new books I have o I’m actually going to start this review by telling you a little bit about me. Just trust me and go with it. I read lots of blogs, but I very seldom read through the actual reviews. I hate being spoiled and even though most bloggers give adequate spoiler warnings, I’d rather be completely surprised when I pick up a book. So, you will often hear see me say that I had no idea what a book was about before picking it up. I also never go to the library with a list. I go, pick up any new books I have on hold, and browse the shelves looking for something to catch my eye. This is how I found Skunk Girl. I didn’t remember who had read it, what it was about, or if it was even good for that matter. I recognized it, laughed at the inside cover, and placed it in my bag. I was in no real hurry to read it since I had so many other goodies in my pile, but when I finally did, boy was I surprised.

Nina Khan just wants to be a normal teenager, except she’s kind of a freak. She’s hairy, Muslim, and under lockdown by her very strict, Pakistani parents. Luckily for her though, her American friends love her anyway. Nina is used to the social restrictions her family believes in; however, when cutie Asher Richelli starts paying her attention, she is determined to break away. In the end Nina learns that her family really isn’t that bad and that some of the things she wished for are overrated.

I loved Nina’s story. She was such a diverse character! I know, I know – it’s mostly because she is a person of color with a completely different culture than my own, but I had to say it. Nina’s narrative takes us straight into her head and lets us see, and feel, and think the things that she is seeing, and feeling, and thinking. Feeling so close to a character is always a good thing in my book, and her witty humor only added to my love for this debut novel. I hear Karim is working on a new book, and I cannot wait to read it.

I think it is so important for stories like Nina’s to be told. Please check out Reading in Color and S. Krishna’s Books if you aren’t already familiar. Both of these blogs feature books by and/or about people of color, and both hold challenges with tons of suggestions for books like Skunk Girl.

I first heard about Skunk Girl after a friend of mine posted the cover on Facebook. I thought it was funny and wondered if Skunk Girl was about a girl who smells. It isn’t. Instead, this is a book about a hairy Pakistani Muslim.

There are not that many books about Muslims out there, so once I saw this at the library, I wasted no time in picking it up. Was it everything that I wanted and more? Sadly, no. But I think this is due to my expectations for this novel. I originally thought it wou I first heard about Skunk Girl after a friend of mine posted the cover on Facebook. I thought it was funny and wondered if Skunk Girl was about a girl who smells. It isn’t. Instead, this is a book about a hairy Pakistani Muslim.

There are not that many books about Muslims out there, so once I saw this at the library, I wasted no time in picking it up. Was it everything that I wanted and more? Sadly, no. But I think this is due to my expectations for this novel. I originally thought it would be about a hairy Muslim teenager coping with Islam in a non-Islamic society. Let me explain: from the synopsis, we can see that she has a huge crush on Asher. She wants him, but in Islam we don’t date. We get married. So the challenges of being like everyone else while still trying to keep your religion in tact is something a lot of us face, and so, I was hoping to see that here.

Instead, this is mostly a story about a teen girl who has strict parents who constantly compare her to her older sister. She has a crush on a new guy who might just like her too. And she has hair…growing…everywhere.

Except that it’s not. There’s no real plot in this novel, just a series of events that are joined together. There are many conflicts that are presented, which are interesting, but they’re never really resolved. And by the end the novel, you’re left wondering, ‘Is that it?”

Even though Nina is one I can easily relate to, I just couldn’t like her or care about her. Wait, wait. I’m not saying this because she wanted to do things that were considered unIslamic. That’s normal for a girl her age. And it’s not that she did unIslamic things either. What I had a problem with was Nina’s interaction with the ‘mean girl’ Serena. Nina hates her and doesn’t hide it at all. Why? Because of an incident when they were kids. This made me sympathize with Serena and made me want to slap Nina a few times.

They do come to a sort of understanding, but the interactions between the two were clearly in Serena’s favour. Was this supposed to happen though? I don’t think so. I think we’re meant to root for Nina, but when it came to these two I just couldn’t.

There are some good points though. Nina’s parents, while strict, are not bad people, nor are they depicted that way. And Nina’s best friends are developed nicely as well. And I did like that Nina discovered a sort of balance at the end and that she learned from her mistakes, I just wish the journey to this was done better. And that Islam and her culture had a bigger role, instead of just being a means to restrict Nina’s freedom. . more

When you read this review, keep in mind that “Skunk Girl” was written by one of my best friends in the whole world:) I’ve read a lot of Sheba’s writing over the years and I love her style which is so breezy and grounded.

I started laughing from page 1 of SG, and not just because of the Jolene and SAT antonyms and the fact that we’re hearing a story about South Asian immigrant lives. Naturally, overbearing traditionalist parents and obsessive academic regimes are resonant themes with me, and it’s When you read this review, keep in mind that “Skunk Girl” was written by one of my best friends in the whole world:) I’ve read a lot of Sheba’s writing over the years and I love her style which is so breezy and grounded.

I started laughing from page 1 of SG, and not just because of the Jolene and SAT antonyms and the fact that we’re hearing a story about South Asian immigrant lives. Naturally, overbearing traditionalist parents and obsessive academic regimes are resonant themes with me, and it’s great to finally get a window open in that house, but more so, the writing in SG is light and witty and humourous and the teenage protagonist, Nina Khan, is actually loveable, as the book jacket promises (prompts?).

The dialogue and pacing is great, and I found myself wanting to know what Nina was going to do or think next, even if it was just a tiny tumult versus a grand upheaval. Her two best friends are nicely depicted (though it took me some time to separate them in my head). I especially enjoyed her father’s character.

Some of the interactions and conversations seemed overly mature, but maybe I’m not giving teenagers their due:) That said, SG was an absolute pleasure to read, and I SO wish it had been around 20 years ago when I was 15, and I wouldn’t have been felt so much the only lonely hairy girl out there. . more

Nina’s parents are Pakistani Muslims, while she wants to be an Americanized teenager. She’s got two girlfriends, both white, and a crush on the new boy Asher. Problem is, of course, getting her parents to allow her to do anything that might involve boys, dating, dancing, etc., which of course they won’t because they want her to be a good girl. Asher appears to like her, though.

The ending is, I think, supposed to let us know that Nina has somehow made peace with her American and Pakistani sides Nina’s parents are Pakistani Muslims, while she wants to be an Americanized teenager. She’s got two girlfriends, both white, and a crush on the new boy Asher. Problem is, of course, getting her parents to allow her to do anything that might involve boys, dating, dancing, etc., which of course they won’t because they want her to be a good girl. Asher appears to like her, though.

The ending is, I think, supposed to let us know that Nina has somehow made peace with her American and Pakistani sides; it just comes across as a tacked-on coda.

Skunk Girl is set in the 1990s, and I’m guessing that is because the author grew up in a similar situation during that time. Because there’s no real reason for it to be set then (by which I mean there’s no great event or person that would require it to be set in the ’90s), the lack of cell phones, texting, computers and all the other teen “stuff” stands out. . more

I ordered this book for my sister(a teen), as she was fascinated by the title ‘Skunk Girl’. Well, she read it and kept on saying me that this book rocks. It made me curious and I thought of reading it too. So, here I am writing the review of ‘Skunk Girl’.

Let me start with the basic idea of story.
Nina Khan is a sixteen year old Pakistani girl who was born and brought up in Deer Hook. Coming from conservative Pakistani family, she has many restrictions. No sleepovers, no parties, no talking to boy
I ordered this book for my sister(a teen), as she was fascinated by the title ‘Skunk Girl’. Well, she read it and kept on saying me that this book rocks. It made me curious and I thought of reading it too. So, here I am writing the review of ‘Skunk Girl’.

Let me start with the basic idea of story.
Nina Khan is a sixteen year old Pakistani girl who was born and brought up in Deer Hook. Coming from conservative Pakistani family, she has many restrictions. No sleepovers, no parties, no talking to boys and many more… While her friends enjoy weekend and parties, Nina has to stay at home and study. And more to her frustration, she is hairy!! A long strip of black hair runs down on her back which resembles ‘Skunk’. And guess who saw it? Her crush ‘Asher Richelli’, a cute new Italian transfer student.
Does she stand any chance to impress Asher?
Will her life be more interesting, even after so many restrictions?
Nina is always compared to her elder sister, who is supernerd, and her parents wish Nina excel in exams just like her supernerd sister.

The book starts on interesting note, with Nina giving introduction about her Parents and their love for Pakistani culture. It grabs the readers interest as we keep on turning the pages. The author has done a wonderful job of keeping the readers hooked to each and every chapter by adding all sort of possible humor. I bet you can’t help yourself but to laugh as you go on reading further.
Author has used some cheesy dialogues which will make you giggle for sure.
“Nina, don’t talk to boys or you will get pregnant.” Says Nina’s mom.
“Sonia is in Harvard, but Nina will go to Yale University.” Nina’s parents keeps on saying everyone, making her life more complicated!
“Why is the watering can kept in bathroom? They don’t use toilet papers in Pakistan?”Nina’s American friend ask and she replies “It is called Lota.”

The clash between two culture – traditional Pakistani culture and Modern American culture is perfectly explained. And the protagonist Nina Khan is the sufferer of this clash.
What I liked about the book is beautiful character developments and beautiful way of telling story. Language used is simple yet catchy.

But the book don’t have a proper plot(if you are looking for any) as it is a series of events put together . Though the book is targeted to Young Adults, I loved reading it. A light read and it definitely refreshes the reader with the humor.I’ll give 3.5/5 to the book. . more

Although skunk girl channeled the typical girl-likes-boy-but-too-uncool-to-get-him-to-notice story, I thought it was still pretty unique since Nina came from a South Asian background. One of my very good friends from college is Pakistani, so as I read skunk girl, I was picturing my friend as Nina and wondering how her high school experience went. Not to mention, I could semi-relate to Nina’s experiences since I am Vietnamese – a similar social situation, though I would say that Nina was more suc Although skunk girl channeled the typical girl-likes-boy-but-too-uncool-to-get-him-to-notice story, I thought it was still pretty unique since Nina came from a South Asian background. One of my very good friends from college is Pakistani, so as I read skunk girl, I was picturing my friend as Nina and wondering how her high school experience went. Not to mention, I could semi-relate to Nina’s experiences since I am Vietnamese – a similar social situation, though I would say that Nina was more successful in breaking free earlier 🙂

Yet I was not entirely convinced that Asher was worth all that effort. He might have that dreamy Italian accent, but I got the impression that he was quite a “player” even if he did not seem arrogant and did not mean to break every girl’s heart. But I guess I cannot fault Nina – who can resist looking at the pretty boys, even if they may not be Mr. Right?

The great thing about skunk girl is how realistic I found it. I laughed at Nina’s woes concerning her South Asian “curse” and sympathized as her parents heaped responsibility and tradition upon her, but I hoped that she would eventually appreciate her parents, her family, her culture. Nina chooses to sneak out to a party in hopes to see Asher and do some underage drinking with her friends, but quickly finds out that it may not be for her. It was nice to see Nina make not the greatest decisions and learn from them.

skunk girl was a pretty cute book with a narrator who had a great sense of humor as she experienced her growing pains. It reminded me of Bend It Like Beckham, but with less soccer and more high school drama.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Nina Khan is a Pakistani-American, Muslim teenager who feels like her life is slowly being constricted (to death!) by her parents. She’s not allowed to date, she’s not allowed to go to parties, and she’s no longer allowed to sleep over at her best girlfriends’ houses, because none of these things are done by “good” Muslim girls. If that weren’t bad enough, Nina lives in Deer Hook – a tiny town – and she and her family are practically providing all of its ethnic diversity. When Asher moves to Dee Nina Khan is a Pakistani-American, Muslim teenager who feels like her life is slowly being constricted (to death!) by her parents. She’s not allowed to date, she’s not allowed to go to parties, and she’s no longer allowed to sleep over at her best girlfriends’ houses, because none of these things are done by “good” Muslim girls. If that weren’t bad enough, Nina lives in Deer Hook – a tiny town – and she and her family are practically providing all of its ethnic diversity. When Asher moves to Deer Hook (he’s honest-to-goodness Italian from Italy!), Nina falls for his good looks and his great personality, but she knows that under her parents’ restrictions, they can never go out together. This is totally fine while he remains in fantasy territory, but when Asher actually reciprocates and tries to kiss her, Nina freaks out. What should she do? What CAN she do?

Nina’s story raises a lot of questions about relationships, religion, and the personal choices we make. Are Nina’s parents way too strict? Will Nina eventually rebel? Should she date Asher regardless of the turmoil it will cause? Readers, you will not get to find out, because Sheba Karim leaves us in the lurch – wondering what will happen to Nina in Pakistan, and wondering what will happen when she gets back. Realistic? Perhaps. I was still dying to know the answers to both of those questions. This felt a little slow in some places, and I was going to put it aside until I talked to a teen who absolutely loved it. Ok, I decided, I’ll press on! This will be appreciated by readers who like character-driven chick-lit. . more

Nina is a Pakistani-American girl. Her parents are pretty conservative, especially about what she can do. But Nina lives in a small town, where finding a lot of sympathy and support from her friends isn’t so easy. She still faces all of the average American teenager situations – a cute boy who is dating someone else, a pretty girl at school who seems to have it out for her, parties with beer, and friends who are spending more and more time with their boyfriends. Nina can’t talk to her parents or Nina is a Pakistani-American girl. Her parents are pretty conservative, especially about what she can do. But Nina lives in a small town, where finding a lot of sympathy and support from her friends isn’t so easy. She still faces all of the average American teenager situations – a cute boy who is dating someone else, a pretty girl at school who seems to have it out for her, parties with beer, and friends who are spending more and more time with their boyfriends. Nina can’t talk to her parents or her sister, so all she is left to do is struggle through things by herself. However, sometimes the fates bring unexpected support: cousins her age, her friends, her sister, and, most surprisingly of all, a cute guy.

I love that this book didn’t take the easy way out of Nina’s situations. Books about outsiders have been done before, but Skunk Girl avoids the obvious or easy answers and doesn’t go for easy laughs (or groans). Nina is thoughtful and the other characters are full of surprises. Not everything is tied up neatly at the end of this book, however, the reader does believe that Nina will find her way through her two worlds. . more

The title and the summary on the back cover is very misleading. Sure, Nina Khan has a stripe of hair down her back (much like a skunk’s) however, that’s not even what the book is centered on. This insecurity is merely mentioned in passing once or twice or thrice. I feel like the book should have a different title.

Moreover, nothing much was happening in the story. There was barely any plot development, miniscule character development, and a very unsatisfactory and flat ending. It’s just Two stars.

The title and the summary on the back cover is very misleading. Sure, Nina Khan has a stripe of hair down her back (much like a skunk’s) however, that’s not even what the book is centered on. This insecurity is merely mentioned in passing once or twice or thrice. I feel like the book should have a different title.

Moreover, nothing much was happening in the story. There was barely any plot development, miniscule character development, and a very unsatisfactory and flat ending. It’s just about an insecure high school girl with strict parents and a massive crush on the hot Italian transfer student. There wasn’t anything in the story that made me feel excited or invested enough. To be honest, it’s a forgettable story. However, Nina Khan as a character isn’t (as are the rest of the secondary characters), if that makes sense. I like her and I like how this book tackles and introduces a different culture. I looove the writing style and Nina’s voice. The book made me chuckle a couple of times but the ending was just meh.

So yeah, I did enjoy it but the story’s just kinda dull. . more

Bleaching her mustache and missing out on all the best parties are part of what Nina’s come to expect as a Pakistani-American teen with the strictest parents in town. At the start of her junior year in high school, she’s still living in the shadow of her genius older sister and still trying to figure out how to keep up socially in spite of her family’s fear that she’s becoming too “Um-ree-can-ized.”

Then the unexpected happens: Nina meets an attractive Italian exchange student named Asher—and Ash Bleaching her mustache and missing out on all the best parties are part of what Nina’s come to expect as a Pakistani-American teen with the strictest parents in town. At the start of her junior year in high school, she’s still living in the shadow of her genius older sister and still trying to figure out how to keep up socially in spite of her family’s fear that she’s becoming too “Um-ree-can-ized.”

Then the unexpected happens: Nina meets an attractive Italian exchange student named Asher—and Asher catches a glimpse of the dark line of hair running down the middle of her back. More humiliated than ever, Nina is certain that Asher will prefer button-nosed blond Serena over her scholarly, hirsute self.

Teens of all backgrounds will be able to relate to Nina’s struggle in reconciling her own identity with her family’s culture. While the girl-crushing-on-boy story may be familiar, the funny and touching Skunk Girl is truly a novel of a different stripe.

several years ago i read Does My Head Look Big In This? and found it cloying and preachy, and the comments on my review got kind of out of control, but whatevs, i digress. what i’m trying to say is that “skunk girl” provides a different perspective on growing up as a teen muslim in the minority, and i personally prefer this view.

nina khan’s parents came from pakistan to have their family in deer hook, new york. nina is the only muslim at her high school and is not allowed to attend parties or g several years ago i read Does My Head Look Big In This? and found it cloying and preachy, and the comments on my review got kind of out of control, but whatevs, i digress. what i’m trying to say is that “skunk girl” provides a different perspective on growing up as a teen muslim in the minority, and i personally prefer this view.

nina khan’s parents came from pakistan to have their family in deer hook, new york. nina is the only muslim at her high school and is not allowed to attend parties or go on dates. but the rules on her social life don’t stop her from getting a crush on asher, a jewish-italian dreamboat who also feels out of place in deer hook. nina must decide how far she’s willing to stray from her parents and religion, and also what to do with her rogue body hair. overall, really funny and relatable. . more

This was a fun read, and this is not at ALL the sort of book I like. Karim’s Nina journeys along the familiar YA paths of romance and friendships and school and family. I really enjoyed the non-melodramatic nature of the book; so much of the YA I’ve read lately has a sinister edge that reading a book without it felt refreshing. This isn’t to say that Nina’s problems aren’t real or that Karim doesn’t build up tension, but that these things unfold in natural, plausible ways. This story offers an g This was a fun read, and this is not at ALL the sort of book I like. Karim’s Nina journeys along the familiar YA paths of romance and friendships and school and family. I really enjoyed the non-melodramatic nature of the book; so much of the YA I’ve read lately has a sinister edge that reading a book without it felt refreshing. This isn’t to say that Nina’s problems aren’t real or that Karim doesn’t build up tension, but that these things unfold in natural, plausible ways. This story offers an good look into the life of a Muslim Pakistani American and the forces that pull on her. The pace is quick, the voice easy and honest. It reminds me of an upper-classman, Urdu-version of Melissa de la Cruz’s Fresh Off the Boat.

Hope this one finds an audience, as it is wholly charming . more

Skunk Girl book. Read 95 reviews from the world’s largest community for readers. If Nina Khan were to rate herself on the unofficial Pakistani prestige p…