Blog Tour Review: The Next New Syrian Girl by Ream Shukairy

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A lot of tough themes in this one

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Ream Shukairy for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary copy and media kit!

Book Information

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date:
March 14, 2023

Khadija Shaami is a Syrian American boxer fed up with the expectations of being the perfect Syrian daughter. Saddled with a monstrous ego and a mother to test it, she will stop at nothing to leave Detroit and travel the world with her best friend.

Leene Taher is a Syrian refugee enraptured by the lavish lifestyle of the Syrian girls in Detroit. America is her fresh start, if only her haunting past will let her move on.

When their worlds collide, the result is catastrophic: To Khadija, Leene embodies the tame, dutiful Syrian ideal she’s long rebelled against. And to Leene, Khadija is the strong-willed, closed-off American who makes Leene doubt her place in the world.

But as Khadija digs up Leene’s past, a startling discovery brings the two of them closer together. As the girls secretly race to unravel the truth, their blossoming friendship challenges what each knows about the other and herself. And what they find takes them all the way across the world, back to the place of Khadija’s memories and Leene’s nightmares.

Book Links

Content and Trigger Warnings

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this series, check out

About the Author

Ream Shukairy is a Syrian American born and raised full-time in Orange County, California and part-time over summers in Syria. Whether in California or Syria, she feels at home where her family is and wherever there’s a beach. She has a talent for learning languages and is always on the search for the next place she can travel and flex her words. The daughter of immigrants, there isn’t a stereotype she won’t try her hardest to defy. She can be found reading at the beach, with her sisters watching anime, or playing volleyball really anywhere. She currently resides in Boston for graduate school.

Author Links:

Review (no spoilers)

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.

I’m going to preface this review with the important note that I am not Muslim, so I necessarily have an outsider view of this book’s plot and themes. Okay, let’s get into this review!

If you go to the Goodreads page for this book, it’s tagged as a young adult contemporary romance, and I have literally no idea why that is. This is 100% a realistic/contemporary novel, not a romance. It has a side romance in the book, but it is not at all the most important part of the plot. The actual heart of this story is about two Syrian girls (one Syrian American and the other a Syrian refugee) learning to use their differences to gain more perspective on their situations in order to grow as individuals.

Before you pick this book up, I want to warn you that it has a lot of heavy themes. Leene and her mother are Syrian refugees with dark, trauma-filled pasts, and these events are recalled multiple times throughout the book in detail. These include mentions and descriptions of major violence and multiple deaths. Khadija, on the other hand, is being raised in a family that I would describe as extremely dysfunctional. Her mother constantly makes her feel like she’s not good enough, her father neglects his family in favor of his work, and her brother has completely distanced himself from everyone and everything around him. Literally every single time Khadija had a conversation with one of her family members, I experienced a low-to-medium-grade panic attack. Their strained and toxic dynamic triggered me on such a visceral level that I actually developed extreme nausea and body aches at the end of the book. I honestly thought it was from something I ate/drank until it went away once I finished reading. There is also an attempted suicide with a fairly graphic aftermath in here that was not mentioned in the content warnings that I saw, so please be aware of that as well.

Now that I’ve got the disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk about the strong points of the novel. Because it tackles heavy themes, there is a lot for readers to learn and reflect on in these pages. We get views into the complex dynamics between being Syrian vs. being Syrian American, and the identity struggles that result from it. This is a character-driven novel that will make you feel every possible emotion you could think of, from happiness to anger to sadness. The author definitely does not shy away from getting political (a necessity, I think) with several mentions and depictions of the rampant xenophobia and islamophobia present in America, including in our political leaders. I wouldn’t say that it has a happy ending (I’d probably call it a hopeful ending, instead), but I think that’s kind of the whole point. The world is a mess; real lives don’t get wrapped and tied in a tidy little bow at the end of them.


3 thoughts on “Blog Tour Review: The Next New Syrian Girl by Ream Shukairy

  1. ratmom March 19, 2023 / 4:14 pm

    While it’s probably not my cup of tea, I’m sure others will like it.

    Liked by 1 person

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