I found out about Huda Fahmy’s brilliant cartoons on her Facebook “Yes I’m Hot in This” page and I read her first book of cartoons, “Yes, I’m Hot in This” a couple of years ago. Last year, she published her first graphic novel – I would probably call this autofiction, as she admits it’s somewhat based on her life but not totally, so it comes under the fiction heading and still gives a compelling picture of life as a young Muslim hijabi girl in North America. I pulled this short book off the shelf to read for Novellas in November, as it has under 200 pages. I don’t often read graphic novels as I find I skim through them too quickly, comments on that in the review. But it was great, and Matthew just read it, too!

Huda Fahmy – “Huda F Are You?

(6 December 2021)

Instead of the usual quotation at the top of this review, I’m going to add a photo of one of the pages, as there’s not really enough text to quote. It gives a good impression of what the book looks like, and also the moving quality of Fahmy’s work – with just a few lines, we see the fear and worry on her mum’s face as she travels to the US with her new husband:

This coming-of-age novel is lovely – heartbreaking but funny and very instructive if you want to know what life for Fahmy and her character was like. I loved getting to know her family (including her mysterious sister, drawn see-through with dotted outlines!) and the disparate friends she gathers around her as she starts to make sense of high school. We see Huda going to Halaqa (as she describes it, like Bible Study), and being able to learn more about her heritage and to improve her Arabic, and also meeting the cool and inspirational Sister Amal, who pops up from time to time through the text, and we see her finally start to push back at the racism that’s becoming rife at school – complete with profiling and abuse from teachers, alongside her friends.

Matthew really enjoyed this one, too – he chuckled at some pages but found it sad, too, and in many ways a typical high-school coming-of-age novel. We do root for Huda and I will definitely buy more of Fahmy’s work (I’m aware I’ve missed one of her books and will pick it up soon)

This was Book 2 for Novellas in November.