A Girl Like That


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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.

Named a Best Book of 2018 by: The Globe and Mail, CBC Books, The Times of India, Seventeen, PopSugarVogue IndiaQuill & Quire, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Chicago Public Library, New York Public Library, The Toronto Public LibraryBarnes & Noble Teen Blog, A Mighty Girl

2019 Amy Mathers Teen Book Award Finalist (Canadian Children’s Book Centre)

The List: Great Reads for Youth by the Toronto Public Library

2019 Amelia Bloomer Project List Selection

Nominated for 2019 OLA White Pine Award 

OLA Best Bets Top Ten 2018

#1 Bestseller, The New Indian Express, June 3 2018

Junior Library Guild Selection

RT Book Reviews Top Pick 



★ “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.” — Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal (starred review)

“The book sensitively tackles complex issues of bullying, abuse, rape culture and peer pressure…Heartbreaking in its honesty, the lingering power of Bhathena’s prose unsettles long after you’re done with the book.” — Sadaf Siddique, Muslims in Story

A Girl Like That is a book which readers will enjoy and will remember long after other novels come and go.” — Ann Ketcheson, CM Magazine 

“Get ready to not be able to put this book down!” — Daphne Gold, RT Reviews

“Bhathena enters the YA scene with a bang, writing complicated characters with mastery and nuance.”  — Qurratulayn Muhammad, Booklist

“A refreshingly nuanced narrative about gender in the Middle East.” Kirkus

Shines a light on a girl caught between global modernity and traditional mores.” — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“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.” — Charis Cotter, Quill and Quire

“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.” — Shannon Ozirny, The Globe and Mail

“Brilliantly told story of a girl as scandalous in death as in life.” — Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, The Hindu

“With a clear grasp of the politics of a region such as Saudi Arabia as well as an honest look at how religion and culture can be used to limit and criticise, Bhathena writes a novel that is both relevant and needed.” — Anum Shaharyar, Dawn

“Brilliant, powerful, unforgettable.” —  Jean Westmoore, The Buffalo News

“Bhathena brilliantly redefines what it means to be in love and shows how oppression truly plays a part in how women define themselves.” — Anum Shafqat, The Harvard Crimson 

“Beyond the cultural milieu, A Girl Like That is still a statement about the need for self-expression, to fight self and others, to become who you are.” — Helen Kubiw, CanLit for Little Canadians

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

“In this masterful debut, Bhathena tackles numerous contemporary issues in a story that manages to skilfully avoid feeling didactic or bogged down.”  — Lisa Doucet, Woozles Bookstore

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, #1 New 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



Fairweather friends, The Hindu Business Online



The CCBC’s favourite books of the past decade, CCBC Twitter

The best Canadian YA and children’s literature of 2018, CBC

Books of the Year 2018: Kidlit aficionados pick their top titles, Quill & Quire

CCBC December 2018 Newsletter, CCBC

The Globe 100: Our favourite books of 2018, The Globe and Mail

The 34 Best Young Adult Books of 2018, Seventeen

2019 White Pine Award Fiction Nominees, OLA

2019 Best Fiction for Young Adults, YALSA

The 22 Best Young Adult Books of 2018, Seventeen

These are the 12 Most Riveting YA books of 2018, PopSugar

Books your kids need to read before summer ends, CTV’s Your Morning

10 Canadian YA books you should read this summer, CBC Books

The Ultimate YA Beach Reads of 2018, Refinery29

What would you like to read this summer?, Mint Lounge

Romance isn’t trash!, The New Indian Express

Teenage ambition, angst and alienation, The Asian Age

13 Extraordinary YA Novels by Women of Color, Sadie Nash Leadership Project

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena is The Feminist Writing We Need in Today’s Society, Vagabomb

Jael Richardson’s book pick: A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena, CBC Radio

Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier, Mid-day

Brilliant Books to look forward in 2018, Times of India

The 20 Best YA Books of 2018, Seventeen

Most Anticipated: Our 2018 Spring Books for Young Readers Preview, 49th Shelf

New Kids On the Block 2018 with Tanaz Bhathena, Pop Goes the Reader

10 Canadian young adult titles to watch for in the first half of 2018, CBC Books

10 of the Best Young Adult Books of February 2018, Paste Magazine

The 17 Best YA Books Coming in February that make the Perfect Valentine’s Day Dates, Bustle

YA Open Mic: February 2018, Barnes and Noble

28 of Our Most Anticipated February YA Books, Barnes and Noble

An Interview with Tanaz Bhathena on her new YA book A Girl Like That, Book Riot

9 Books with South Asian Characters to read in 2018, Teen Vogue

Spring Preview 2018: Books for Young People, Quill & Quire

Brown and Proud: 11 Books from the South Asian Diaspora To Read Right Now, Barnes and Noble

Most Anticipated Books of 2018, Book Riot

Start Off Your 2018 Right By Reading These 18 New YA Books, Buzzfeed

29 of Our Most Anticipated Contemporaries of 2018, Barnes and Noble

27 Most Anticipated YA Contemporary Books Hitting Shelves In 2018, Bustle

17 YA Books By Authors Of Color To Look Out For In The First Half Of 2018, Bustle

Must-Read Young Adult Books of Winter 2018, Bookish



Audio edition: Recorded Books

India: Penguin Random House India

Hungary: Könyvmolyképző

Romania: Editura Young Art (Published under the title Genul ăla de fată)

Serbia: Publik Praktikum (Published under the title Samo Svoja)

Spain: Plataforma Neo (Published under the title Una Chica Como Ella)