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Here to Stay

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For most of high school, Bijan Majidi has flown under the radar. He gets good grades, reads comics, hangs out with his best friend, Sean, and secretly crushes on Elle, one of the most popular girls in his school. When he’s called off the basketball team’s varsity bench and makes the winning basket in a playoff game, everything changes in an instant. But not everyone is happ For most of high school, Bijan Majidi has flown under the radar. He gets good grades, reads comics, hangs out with his best friend, Sean, and secretly crushes on Elle, one of the most popular girls in his school. When he’s called off the basketball team’s varsity bench and makes the winning basket in a playoff game, everything changes in an instant. But not everyone is happy that Bijan is the man of the hour: an anonymous cyberbully sends the entire school a picture of Bijan photoshopped to look like a terrorist. His mother is horrified, and the school administration is outraged. They promise to find and punish the culprit. All Bijan wants is to pretend it never happened and move on, but the incident isn’t so easily erased. Though many of his classmates rally behind Bijan, some don’t want him or his type to be a part of their school. And Bijan’s finding out it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends . . .


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For most of high school, Bijan Majidi has flown under the radar. He gets good grades, reads comics, hangs out with his best friend, Sean, and secretly crushes on Elle, one of the most popular girls in his school. When he’s called off the basketball team’s varsity bench and makes the winning basket in a playoff game, everything changes in an instant. But not everyone is happ For most of high school, Bijan Majidi has flown under the radar. He gets good grades, reads comics, hangs out with his best friend, Sean, and secretly crushes on Elle, one of the most popular girls in his school. When he’s called off the basketball team’s varsity bench and makes the winning basket in a playoff game, everything changes in an instant. But not everyone is happy that Bijan is the man of the hour: an anonymous cyberbully sends the entire school a picture of Bijan photoshopped to look like a terrorist. His mother is horrified, and the school administration is outraged. They promise to find and punish the culprit. All Bijan wants is to pretend it never happened and move on, but the incident isn’t so easily erased. Though many of his classmates rally behind Bijan, some don’t want him or his type to be a part of their school. And Bijan’s finding out it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends . . .

30 review for Here to Stay

  1. 5 out of 5

    Catie

    How could a book about racism, homophobia, and “The Age of Assholes” make me laugh SO MUCH? I still can’t fully articulate why, but this book was such a bright spot in my life last week. Amidst ever more depressing news stories, this book felt like spending time with a good friend – an unapologetically dorky, loyal, witty, and authentic friend who would probably let me pick the movie and would stay to help clean up afterwards. Bijan Majidi is such a friend, and he also reminds me of so many stude How could a book about racism, homophobia, and “The Age of Assholes” make me laugh SO MUCH? I still can’t fully articulate why, but this book was such a bright spot in my life last week. Amidst ever more depressing news stories, this book felt like spending time with a good friend – an unapologetically dorky, loyal, witty, and authentic friend who would probably let me pick the movie and would stay to help clean up afterwards. Bijan Majidi is such a friend, and he also reminds me of so many students I’ve had over the years. A shy, 6’4” dork who mostly remains anonymous on the JV basketball team, Bijan gains sudden notoriety when he gets called up to varsity as a sub and unexpectedly leads the team to victory. Bijan now finds that he’s invited to elite parties and traveling in the same circles as the popular kids, including is long-term crush, Elle. Unfortunately, his new popularity also brings negative attention from some of his teammates whose hidden prejudices now rise angrily to the surface. When a doctored photo circulates depicting him as a terrorist, Bijan must decide how much he’s willing to stand for. Bijan is such a relatable character: a normal kid who, at the end of the day, would rather fit in than stand out. He doesn’t appreciate the frequent requests to explain “where he’s from” or the frequent assumptions about his religion and background, but he’s willing to tolerate it. Watching him struggle through the exhaustion and illness of being targeted was heartbreaking. Even Bijan’s easygoing friendliness and good nature is not enough to shield him from hate directed at his appearance. However, this is by no means a devastating, gritty tale. Bijan’s humorous habit of narrating his life, sports-commentator style, keeps the story light and even uproariously funny in places. The arcs of several of the side-characters (including Bijan’s type-A, super driven, nerdy friend, Stephanie) are equally moving. My only slight quibble is that the villains in this story are, at times, cartoonishly awful…but then, recalling the news stories that I mentioned earlier…perhaps they aren’t so unrealistic after all. The best thing about this book is how easily I will be able to sell it in the library: a middle-eastern boy who wins at basketball, gets the girl, and fights against hate? I won’t be able to keep this on my shelves.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joey Rambles

    You're going to read a lot of reviews soon about how incredibly relevant and timely this book is, which it is. But that's not the only thing that makes this book successful. I mean, it's certainly an important factor. We need more diverse books. The books we read, especially as kids, help build the context in which we view the world. Diverse books help us understand the problems of lives we will never live out, as well as give minorities a chance to see themselves as the hero. But much like The Ha You're going to read a lot of reviews soon about how incredibly relevant and timely this book is, which it is. But that's not the only thing that makes this book successful. I mean, it's certainly an important factor. We need more diverse books. The books we read, especially as kids, help build the context in which we view the world. Diverse books help us understand the problems of lives we will never live out, as well as give minorities a chance to see themselves as the hero. But much like The Hate U Give, this book isn't successful just because it's relevant and timely. It's successful because it's a well-written book. It's so, so funny, much more than a book this heavy has any right to be. The characters are so much fun to read about, especially our protagonist, Bijan Majidi, who is the true heart and soul of this novel. (I wish I had him as a best friend in high school!) This is the kind of book I can imagine a teenage boy somewhere reading over and over again because it comforts him so much and makes him happy. I really, really hope this book gets the readership it deserves. Sara Farizan is a terrific author, and while I've yet to read her previous novels, judging by this one, she's a much-needed voice in the YA canon. I certainly hope she's here to stay. And I hope books like this are here to stay. One thing's for sure, though - in my heart, Bijan Majidi is here to stay.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Bijan is, to put it loosely, kind of a dork. And he's really confident in being that. He loves basketball and is a JV on his private school's team. But when he's subbed in during a big game and makes the game-clinching shot, he finds himself suddenly elbow to elbow with a crew of cool kids he never hung out with before. But it's not all good. Not all of those kids like him. Bijan becomes an outlet for their overt racist and Islamophobic behavior in a way. While acknowledged at school, it's not t Bijan is, to put it loosely, kind of a dork. And he's really confident in being that. He loves basketball and is a JV on his private school's team. But when he's subbed in during a big game and makes the game-clinching shot, he finds himself suddenly elbow to elbow with a crew of cool kids he never hung out with before. But it's not all good. Not all of those kids like him. Bijan becomes an outlet for their overt racist and Islamophobic behavior in a way. While acknowledged at school, it's not taken particularly seriously. Kids being kids, of course. Then one of his friends becomes a target too -- and since she's white, the school steps up to figure out who is at the bottom of it. Farizan takes on a lot of meaty topics in this book but she does so in a way that is, at times, laugh out loud funny. Bijan is a superbly likable main character, but we know him as so much more than that. He wrestles with his family situation, having a single mom after losing his dad early; he wrestles with being at a school where racism is rampant, where student causes are ridiculed rather than taken seriously; with figuring out how much he wants to invest in pursuing basketball seriously, as he's wildly talented. And there's also a girl. But what makes this book excel is exactly that: Bijan can be the most likable character, but because of his skin color and heritage, he's still a target and still experiences micro and macro aggressions every single day. Even when he's a school hero. One of my favorite parts of the book is Bijan's quirk of externalizing self-commentary through the use of imaginary sports broadcasters. It adds a lightness to what is, ultimately, a heavy and hard story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristel

    I was going to live my life. I was going to spend time with people who cared about me and whom I cared about. I was going to be comfortable in my own skin even when some people wanted to make that impossible for me. Important, frustrating, emotional, and funny! I didn't get much of the sport's terminology, but I still was on edge when they were playing. PLOT ---- The story follows Bijan’s life in high school; he’s part of the basketball team, is shy and has a crush on a beautiful girl. People, base I was going to live my life. I was going to spend time with people who cared about me and whom I cared about. I was going to be comfortable in my own skin even when some people wanted to make that impossible for me. Important, frustrating, emotional, and funny! I didn't get much of the sport's terminology, but I still was on edge when they were playing. PLOT ---- The story follows Bijan’s life in high school; he’s part of the basketball team, is shy and has a crush on a beautiful girl. People, based solely on ignorance and jealousy, feeling threaten by his newly found success in the team, start hating on him, photoshopping his face on a terrorist body. Just because of the colour of his skin. The book follows him during the days after the photo went viral at school, his feelings, the reality of things hitting him hard, and the eye-opening fact of what fear, however irrational, can do to people. It’s terrifying. CHARACTERS ---- The characters were nicely written; you hated who you were supposed to hate, and cheer for the ones you were supposed to cheer on. There wasn’t the usual case of loving the antagonist. Here the antagonist is so hateful you can’t do anything but despise everything he is and everything he stands for. I liked Bijan a lot. Trying to be strong, telling people he is okay when he’s everything but okay. Trying to be a high school boy, with a crush, with friends he trusts, playing a sport he loves. Trying to be a hero in his own story when the world wants to paint him as the bad guy. “Your mom raised you to be an upstanding young chap, you’re smart, you’re tall, and you can put together a mean bowl of cereal. You’re a catch!” THOUGHTS ---- I was furious. I'm always furious when I read about ignorant people making someone's life a living hell because of their own ignorance, misinformation, and fake patriotism. Like they know generic stuff because they read a few article titles, so they feel entitled to hate, because they are right, they read it somewhere even if out of context. These people should disappear like poof, you racist you gone! You bigot you gone poof!!! “Most people aren’t worth knowing, It’s the Age of the Asshole, man. It’s their time to shine. Doesn’t matter what race, religion, orientation, or gender. If you’re a jerk, the world is yours for the taking.” CONCLUSION ---- The book is short, it’s easy to read and you’ll find yourself finishing it in just an afternoon. Its themes are important, but the book is not heavy or dark. It’s the reality of high schoolers who just happen not to be white, and the ignorant people that put all of them in the category of their choice. Until it’s still something that happens, books like this one, are going to be needed. And as mad as they make me feel, I will keep reading them and spreading the love.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mckinlay

    *i received an ARC of this book from edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.* This book basically solidified Farizan as an autobuy author for me. Bijan is a sweet, brave, loving, loyal protagonist. The romances were adorable. I was invested in so many of the characters! The friendships were amazing. And on top of all that, the way this book tackles Islamophobia and racism is relatable in a way most books aren’t. AND it’s funny! I can’t recommend it enough.

  6. 5 out of 5

    A.R. Hellbender

    This is such a good story with the hard hitting relevance of The Hate U Give and Dear Martin (no one gets shot, but it still revolves around getting justice for a hate crime, and there are so many great quotes about what life can be like for people of color). There is so much diversity in this book as well. Not only is Bijan half Persian and half Arab, but his best friend is Japanese (and has 2 moms), the love interest is black (and so is another friend of his), and 2 other significant characters This is such a good story with the hard hitting relevance of The Hate U Give and Dear Martin (no one gets shot, but it still revolves around getting justice for a hate crime, and there are so many great quotes about what life can be like for people of color). There is so much diversity in this book as well. Not only is Bijan half Persian and half Arab, but his best friend is Japanese (and has 2 moms), the love interest is black (and so is another friend of his), and 2 other significant characters in the book are queer. What I love about Sara Farizan’s books is the way they create a likeable main character who you can’t help but cheer for and put them in crazy situations that put my heart in my throat with suspense because I can’t help but wonder how the main character will get through that situation. This book was just as good that way, and I could hardly put it down. The only thing I felt could have been done differently was one scene in which 2 students are making a presentation about why the school mascot should be changed, and they pull up a slide that’s supposedly relating to if the mascot was always the same thing, and it felt to me like there was a lot of buildup to what it was of, and the audience reacts to it in a surprised way (and not a good surprise), but we never see what it was, or have it explained why the audience reacted to the slide in that way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    Seems I'm in the minority on this one. First of all: we need more YA books featuring diverse protagonists. For a really strong read, see I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez or Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork or The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez or Darius and Twig by Walter Dean Myers. The premise of this is rife with potential. Bijan is a 6 foot 8 or so Jordanian American teen who gets a shot to play on his private school's varsity basketball Seems I'm in the minority on this one. First of all: we need more YA books featuring diverse protagonists. For a really strong read, see I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez or Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork or The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez or Darius and Twig by Walter Dean Myers. The premise of this is rife with potential. Bijan is a 6 foot 8 or so Jordanian American teen who gets a shot to play on his private school's varsity basketball team. In this new role, Bijan deals with Islamophobia in different degrees -- from outright hatred coming from teammates (one of whom is a white scholarship student) to veiled prejudice from that of his coach. The boy is one of a handful of diverse students at the school. Some of these students are characters, and to Farizan's credit, they each have a unique experience at the school (Elle, an African American character, is popular; Marcus, the star basketball player who is kind to Bijan, is also an African American teen). Unfortunately, I could picture high school students rolling their eyes at this book. The dialogue just doesn't ring true (I should say that I am currently working in a high school). It's sort of I think Farizan's envisioning of how high school students talk. But it just felt very contrived to me. I think I gave up on the book when I heard the popular Elle -- Bijan's crush -- utter to Bijan something like: Being popular isn't all it's cracked up to be. At this point, I just thought to myself -- I cant imagine any modern teenager on Earth saying something like that. I guess I could be wrong.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen Reed

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My 14 and 12 year old read this book extremely quickly and both said they really liked it. After finally picking it up myself I can see why. Even though I'm not as big a basketball fan as my boys , I found myself reading this quickly , not wanting to put it down, and wondering what was going to happen next. The pace of the book is excellent. Also, the author does a great job developing the voice of the main male character, Bijan. The way that he hear's sports commentary in his head, both as he p My 14 and 12 year old read this book extremely quickly and both said they really liked it. After finally picking it up myself I can see why. Even though I'm not as big a basketball fan as my boys , I found myself reading this quickly , not wanting to put it down, and wondering what was going to happen next. The pace of the book is excellent. Also, the author does a great job developing the voice of the main male character, Bijan. The way that he hear's sports commentary in his head, both as he plays and when he judges his actions in his life, seems spot on. I love the way she (the author) combined the fun of sports and the serious issue if islamphomia. Also, the author added a lesbian relationship in but it never felt like she was doing too much in this book. It seemed very authentic. Teens can really get a lot out of reading this story. And although their was partying, making out, and the mention of someone having sex it never felt too advanced. School library journal recommended this for high school (9th &up) but I had no problem with my 7th grader reading this. Bijan is a good role model for boys . He doesn't really back down from a fight but he is regretful about that at times, sad, emotional, and sensitive.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Arredondo

    Such serious topics...and yet I was laughing throughout the pages. Here to Stay...aaaah, it pulls at your heart strings. You will fall in love with Bijan. You will fall in love and in frustration and back in love with the entire story. So much emotion. You can't be invisible to adversity if you are someone that comes from a different culture than everyone else around you. Bijan faces that adversity. It's powerful....witty.... warm...and moving. Highly recommend. Thanks to goodreads and to Algonq Such serious topics...and yet I was laughing throughout the pages. Here to Stay...aaaah, it pulls at your heart strings. You will fall in love with Bijan. You will fall in love and in frustration and back in love with the entire story. So much emotion. You can't be invisible to adversity if you are someone that comes from a different culture than everyone else around you. Bijan faces that adversity. It's powerful....witty.... warm...and moving. Highly recommend. Thanks to goodreads and to Algonquin Young Readers for the wonderful opportunity to receive this book free via giveaway to which I gladly and voluntarily reviewed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Renata

    This is a really refreshing, nuanced story! I loove Bijan as a character/narrator, he's such a funny and self-aware kid. I liked seeing him excel at basketball and yet navigate the difficult terrain of "popularity" combined with an array of race/religion/class-based micro- (and macro-) aggressions. But also, it's funny! A great pick for fans of contemporary realistic YAs in general but also, I think sporty enough to hand to teens who just want sports books! (Which is tricky because there aren't This is a really refreshing, nuanced story! I loove Bijan as a character/narrator, he's such a funny and self-aware kid. I liked seeing him excel at basketball and yet navigate the difficult terrain of "popularity" combined with an array of race/religion/class-based micro- (and macro-) aggressions. But also, it's funny! A great pick for fans of contemporary realistic YAs in general but also, I think sporty enough to hand to teens who just want sports books! (Which is tricky because there aren't as many YA sports books are there are MG ones, but most kids don't just...stop liking sports after a certain age.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    Really enjoyed Bijan and his friends. And even though I don't usually like sports books, that's obviously not the main theme in this one. I liked the announcers in Bijan's head even if it didn't really add much to the story. I'm not in review mode right now, but I did like this one! That's all!

  12. 5 out of 5

    I.

    Short, sweet, and very needed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Britta Lundin

    Powerful storytelling, and still funny. This book made me take notes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Tokuda-Hall

    This book has a pure heart and I'd love it for that alone if I didn't also love Bijan so much.

  15. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Here to Stay hits you from the first paragraphs about how people of color don't get happy endings in stories like everyone else. I mean, come on. Why do you have to hit my emotions like that from the beginning Farizan? And the rest of the book goes on just like this - being all thought provoking and wonderful. Seriously timely, this book is one I want to share with everyone I (Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Here to Stay hits you from the first paragraphs about how people of color don't get happy endings in stories like everyone else. I mean, come on. Why do you have to hit my emotions like that from the beginning Farizan? And the rest of the book goes on just like this - being all thought provoking and wonderful. Seriously timely, this book is one I want to share with everyone I know. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Silk

    A heart warming, heart wrenching and funny young adult novel. Bijan is a prep school student in 11th grade who has flown under the radar of the cool kids until he is pulled up from jv basketball to varsity and scores the winning basket. Suddenly Bijan is thrown into the spotlight and not all of the attention is good because he is of Middle Eastern descent in a predominately white school. This book will make you think, will make you laugh and will make you sorry when it is over.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central Bijan Majidi does okay in high school-- he has a good friend, Sean, is on the basketball team, and while he might be a little clueless about girls, he hopes that things will improve. After doing well enough on the basketball court to be moved to the varsity team, he hopes that he will catch the attention of his crush, Elle. Instead, after his victory on the court and a stint helping Stephanie Bergner gather signatures for a petition to remove "Gunners" as ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central Bijan Majidi does okay in high school-- he has a good friend, Sean, is on the basketball team, and while he might be a little clueless about girls, he hopes that things will improve. After doing well enough on the basketball court to be moved to the varsity team, he hopes that he will catch the attention of his crush, Elle. Instead, after his victory on the court and a stint helping Stephanie Bergner gather signatures for a petition to remove "Gunners" as the school mascot, he is the target of an awful e mail sent to all of the students in his private school, photoshopping his picture onto that of a "terrorist". Bijan's mother is of Persian descent and his late father grew up in Jordan, but Bijan doesn't really identify as anything but a US citizen. His mother, of course, is tremendously upset about the e mail, and goes to the school, but Bijan just doesn't want there to be a fuss and hopes everything will pass. Yes, there are some jerks on his team-- Drew is also on a scholarship and isn't pleased when Bijan intervenes during an issue with Drew's girlfriend Erin, and Will is just a general jerk-- but Bijan isn't entirely sure they are behind the photograph. He continues to work with Stephanie on the mascot change, which is not popular with all students, and does well on the basketball court, dealing with some additional unpleasantness in the locker room. That doesn't bother him that much, but when another photoshopped picture, this time of Stephanie and her girlfriend, is circulated, he is interested in finding the culprit and bringing that person to justice. Introducing racial tensions via sports books is a great way to get the attention of lots of readers, and hopefully open some eyes along the way. Bijan's insistence that this is a problem he shouldn't even be having is heart rending and will resonate with many readers. The rarified atmosphere of a private school makes this a little more complicated. It's good to see that there are a lot of people who take Bijan's side, and his most fervent wish is for people to just let him be himself. The budding romance with Elle is sweet, and the friendship with Stephanie even more interesting. I did like that he and Drew came to an understanding despite their differences. There is a lot of underage drinking in this, although Bijan listens to his mother and does not drink, and there are a few other situations that, while fairly calm for Young Adult fiction, make this more suited to high school readers. I was a little surprised that there would be students who would NOT want to change the mascot from the "Gunners", but this book would have been finished well before the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Graced with a fantastic cover, Here to Stay is a compelling read about basketball, unlikely friendships, and that current sociopolitical climate surrounding race relations in the US. How sad is it that we are still dealing with racial issues like this that were described in books like Cerra's Just a Drop of Water (2016), Budhos's Watched (2016), Walter's Bifocal (2007), and even Cooney's The Terrorist (1999).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Belle Ellrich

    *I WAS SENT A PHYSICAL COPY IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW BY THE PUBLISHER. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MY HONEST REVIEW* Here to Stay really changed my perspective on my everyday school life, and even aspects in my public life. Sara Farizan has to be another new favorite author, as this book of hers has really opened my eyes. Farizan brings the topic of Islamaphobia—and even regular racism mixed with prejudice—into the light, and she doesn't let that light shine off of it until the point was made clear *I WAS SENT A PHYSICAL COPY IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW BY THE PUBLISHER. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MY HONEST REVIEW* Here to Stay really changed my perspective on my everyday school life, and even aspects in my public life. Sara Farizan has to be another new favorite author, as this book of hers has really opened my eyes. Farizan brings the topic of Islamaphobia—and even regular racism mixed with prejudice—into the light, and she doesn't let that light shine off of it until the point was made clear. And trust me, anyone who reads this book should get that point from the first few chapters alone. Bijan is a character I felt for deeply. He's just trying to survive high school like the entire teenage population, and he also has his eyes set on the beautiful and ever-popular Elle. But everything changes when his face is photoshopped onto a terrorist's body. Throughout the book, it's made apparent that this will not stand. And I used the points made to try and pick apart my everyday life at school. I tried to see if I was unaware of racism at my own school, and to my horror, I have been unaware of it. A good example of one of the many ways schools are unaware of racism happens to be in a quote I tabbed while reading this. "...the way all the books we read in English class describe people's food color using metaphors." I couldn't help but make sure to NOT to forget this quote. This was an excellent point that was made, and it both saddened and angered me that I never noticed it before. I don't want my friends to be uncomfortable having to read state-issued textbooks with descriptions like these. It's rude, it's uncomfortable even for me, and it's disrespectful to anyone of color. What I hope everyone gathers from this book just like I have, is to keep their eyes open and see what they're missing. To see what is happening under their noses without their realization. I want people to read this and think, "What can I do to help?" And not only that, but I also want people to think, "Do I have privilege? If so, how can I use that privilege to help strengthen the fight against racism?" However, this book not only dealt with the topic of racism, but it also dealt with the topic of sexuality. Bijan was not the only victim in this book, as there was also a picture released of two lesbian characters that I absolutely felt for and wished nothing but happiness. Do you ever feel that for characters? Wanting to jump in the book, give them all a hug and tell them everything would be okay. That you would stick with them well through the end? I wanted to do that for EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER in this book, and I wished so badly to make their pain end. This book shocked me, and I absolutely loved everything about it. The characters were absolutely amazing, and they were well developed throughout the story. The plot was well thought out and perfectly executed. I loved this book, and I thank Sara Farizan for writing this. My rating for Here to Stay is 5/5 stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Bijan Majidi is an up and coming basketball star, just recently added to the varsity team at Granger. But not everyone is thrilled about the change. Some of his teammates aren’t so happy to have him on the team, and when a petition to change the school mascot from the Gunners to something less divisive gets headed, Bijan becomes a target. An anonymous email featuring a photoshopped image of Bijan holding a gun reveals some deep-seated intolerance within the school. Bijan just wants to forget it Bijan Majidi is an up and coming basketball star, just recently added to the varsity team at Granger. But not everyone is thrilled about the change. Some of his teammates aren’t so happy to have him on the team, and when a petition to change the school mascot from the Gunners to something less divisive gets headed, Bijan becomes a target. An anonymous email featuring a photoshopped image of Bijan holding a gun reveals some deep-seated intolerance within the school. Bijan just wants to forget it ever happened, but that’s not easy when people start filling your locker with raw bacon and calling you a terrorist. And somehow equally worrying to Bijan is the fact that he still can’t seem to string together a single coherent sentence around his crush. As he grows closer to the team and faces both triumphs and increasing difficulties, Bijan will have to decide when—and whether—it’s worth it to speak up. Incredibly relevant and timely, Here to Stay shows the full gamut of what it means to be a teenager, from their ability to be terrible bullies to incredible forces for change—even when the adults around them are resistant to it. Sara Farizan tells a beautiful, moving story with characters that are all too relatable. I fell in love with Bijan and his sports commentator inner monologue, his sweetness, his desire to be a good friend and stick up for others while simultaneously not wanting to make waves. The friendships and crushes and relationships between characters are so lovely and really rang true to high school—from the unconditionally loyal friends to the awkward crush interactions to the fake friends and class bullies. This is a book for now and perfect for anyone who wants to read a book about what it means to be a teenager in America. I highly recommend it. **Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

  20. 4 out of 5

    Myron Brown

    Bijan just shot the winning basket during the playoffs. However, he didn’t expect to be the subject of an email which went viral which depicted him as a terrorist. Here to Stay covers a lot of ground over the course of its pages. While the main storyline is about how Bijan confronts the Islamophobia of his classmates, there are also plot threads involving romance, cyberbullying, high school cliques, and team building. Farizan does a great job with creating interesting characters with distinct vo Bijan just shot the winning basket during the playoffs. However, he didn’t expect to be the subject of an email which went viral which depicted him as a terrorist. Here to Stay covers a lot of ground over the course of its pages. While the main storyline is about how Bijan confronts the Islamophobia of his classmates, there are also plot threads involving romance, cyberbullying, high school cliques, and team building. Farizan does a great job with creating interesting characters with distinct voices and experiences. She really captures the dynamics of high school, including some of the nuances that many writers gloss over. For example, she acknowledges there are high school cliques but even within those cliques some within them are closer to each other than others. That becomes clear when some of Bijan's varsity teammates openly express their hateful feelings toward him. Bijan wants to be an asset to his team during the playoffs but at the same time he knows that some of his teammates and other classmates don't want him around because he is of Middle Eastern descent. The focus is on how the e-mail affects Bijan and the people immediately in his orbit but there's also the mystery of who sent the e-mail that might appeal to those who enjoy mysteries. Bijan and his classmates feel very real; Farizan does an excellent job in making them come alive from Bijan's point of view. Overall, Here to Stay is a strong piece of realistic fiction with enough elements of romance and mystery which is engaging enough that readers will get its multiple lessons without being hit over the head by them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diane Magras

    At the start of this magnificent new YA, Bijan Majidi saves his high school's basketball team through incredible playing. That rockets him into semi-stardom, but attracts the ire of some players who don't want people of his ethnicity around, no matter how well he plays. Bijan isn't ever willing to back down, and his comebacks and defense of his friends result in cruel bullying: a Photoshopped image of him as a terrorist that's sent to the whole school. Sara Farizan captures beautifully the impac At the start of this magnificent new YA, Bijan Majidi saves his high school's basketball team through incredible playing. That rockets him into semi-stardom, but attracts the ire of some players who don't want people of his ethnicity around, no matter how well he plays. Bijan isn't ever willing to back down, and his comebacks and defense of his friends result in cruel bullying: a Photoshopped image of him as a terrorist that's sent to the whole school. Sara Farizan captures beautifully the impact this has on Bijan, who pretty much wants everyone to let it go so that he can go on with his life. But it isn't that simple, and the acts of aggression toward him get worse, leading to a terrifying scene in a hotel hallway late in the book when his basketball team is on the road. Bijan is a wonderful kid, a son any parent would be proud of: smart, sweet, kind, and conscientious. I loved how he looks out for his friends, risking placing himself deeper in the rage of his enemies, but stand by own strong moral code. I also loved how his mom tells him to always stand up for himself. And the first person narrator is wonderful: funny, charming, and a delight (and includes two sportscasters narrating his life from within his head). Farizan's basketball scenes are fantastic (if you've ever played, this will all ring true). This book is about so much--basketball, love, friendship, bias--and done so well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nadia Elena

    Here to Stay Bijan is an awkward, dorky, basketball loving kid who’s Iranian descent is only part of his identity. He attends a prep school in Boston and is like any other high school boy. Despite his love for basketball and his involvement in the team, he is benched nearly every game. However, one day his entire life changes when he is pulled off the bench to play a game and proves just how talented he really is. The rising star received attention not only from teammates and coaches, but girls a Here to Stay Bijan is an awkward, dorky, basketball loving kid who’s Iranian descent is only part of his identity. He attends a prep school in Boston and is like any other high school boy. Despite his love for basketball and his involvement in the team, he is benched nearly every game. However, one day his entire life changes when he is pulled off the bench to play a game and proves just how talented he really is. The rising star received attention not only from teammates and coaches, but girls as well, something has never received before. Naturally, with his new found fame comes jealousy from other students. One day and cyberbully posts a picture of Bijan’s face photoshopped as a terrorist and it quickly finds its way to every student in school. Outraged, his mother, teachers, administrators, and other parents from the school make it their mission to discover the cyberbully and avenge Bijan. However, Bijan quickly realizes not everyone is on his side and experiences racism like he never has before. This is another book I would love to teach in my classroom because of the representation it has for students who are typically underrepresented. It presents a very relevant issue of racism and xenophobia that several western white countries have deeply rooted in their culture since 2001. Bijan is a relatable character in the sense that he is awkward and goofy and students would enjoy reading about his trials and successes. 272 Pages

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Ens

    This book does a good job of portraying how one person shouldn't be held up as the poster child for their race/gender/etc. Bijan's love of basketball defines his character, especially as he refuses to quit the sport he loves though he faces aggression and outright harassment from certain teammates that the coach refuses to deal with in an official capacity, since he's more concerned with winning than worrying about his players' character. I appreciated how this book didn't have one central villa This book does a good job of portraying how one person shouldn't be held up as the poster child for their race/gender/etc. Bijan's love of basketball defines his character, especially as he refuses to quit the sport he loves though he faces aggression and outright harassment from certain teammates that the coach refuses to deal with in an official capacity, since he's more concerned with winning than worrying about his players' character. I appreciated how this book didn't have one central villain, which allowed us to see how Bijan faces a wide range of discrimination, from overt verbal and physical attacks to what would probably be called microagressions - like how the basketball coach perpetually refers to him as B, kid or son rather than Bijan, though they don't have the close kind of coach-player relationship that would warrant a nickname. It was a fast read that incorporates humor in a way that doesn't detract from the weighty issues addressed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mackenzie

    3.5 rounded up to 4 stars ARC received through giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads and Algonquin publishing for the chance to read and review. (I absolutely am not talented at writing reviews especially when they're positive 😬 but I tried!) I absolutely loved Bijan and his voice; he made for a compelling, believable, and entertaining narrator. I wish the side characters had been a little more fleshed out (Bijan himself admits to neglecting his best friend,) because what we do get of them is delightfu 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars ARC received through giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads and Algonquin publishing for the chance to read and review. (I absolutely am not talented at writing reviews especially when they're positive 😬 but I tried!) I absolutely loved Bijan and his voice; he made for a compelling, believable, and entertaining narrator. I wish the side characters had been a little more fleshed out (Bijan himself admits to neglecting his best friend,) because what we do get of them is delightful and genuine. Similarly to Becky Alberrtalli, Farizan has created a group of characters who feel like a real friends slash foes in a real school, where I just wanted to keep observing and learning more about them. Overall this book is a very enjoyable and important read, one that shows that issues like bigotry and hate are more than news stories, they are deep and real and so are those they impact. ALSO This book made me CARE about BASKETBALL and I do not how to feel about that.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Shaurette

    There is a stronger basketball book out there this year (I'm looking at you After the Shot Drops,) but this one is still really solid. Bijan adds a new voice to YA lit as an American teen with Arab heritage that has to deal with being labeled a terrorist by bigoted classmates. The biggest strength here is the way he, as narrator, guides the reader through the pain inflicted on him by each microaggression, often intended as a joke. I also enjoyed the play-by-play and imagined commentary by two fo There is a stronger basketball book out there this year (I'm looking at you After the Shot Drops,) but this one is still really solid. Bijan adds a new voice to YA lit as an American teen with Arab heritage that has to deal with being labeled a terrorist by bigoted classmates. The biggest strength here is the way he, as narrator, guides the reader through the pain inflicted on him by each microaggression, often intended as a joke. I also enjoyed the play-by-play and imagined commentary by two former NBA stars. There are scenes that are painful to read, particularly as an educator, such as when Coach ignores hurtful comments to focus on the team winning over the development of his players. What keeps this from true excellence is a few over-the-top characterizations in Stephanie, Jessica, and Will. But I still really liked it and will recommend to sports fans and those interested in realistic fiction with social justice issues.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    While Here to Stay was a bit basketball heavy for my liking, the novel is an authentic portrayal of the struggles of many minority students in our country. When Bijan is attacked by a cyberbully, he wants to pretend it didn't happen. But when they bullying moves from online to IRL, he must decide how to fight back. Hand this book to athletes who will appreciate the team bond and mentality and who will enjoy the basketball descriptions and commentary much more than I did. But this is so much more While Here to Stay was a bit basketball heavy for my liking, the novel is an authentic portrayal of the struggles of many minority students in our country. When Bijan is attacked by a cyberbully, he wants to pretend it didn't happen. But when they bullying moves from online to IRL, he must decide how to fight back. Hand this book to athletes who will appreciate the team bond and mentality and who will enjoy the basketball descriptions and commentary much more than I did. But this is so much more than a "sports" story. It's a story about doing the right thing, even when it's hard. It's about standing up for friends and teammates, even when adults let you down. It's about fighting prejudice and being the change we need to see in today's world.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This was a really well done portrait of what racism and bullying can look like in a high school. Bijan just wants to fit in at his mostly white, mostly upper class high school. He has a love interest and has a best friend and basically wants everyone to forget that his parents are Iranian and Jordanian. But someone at his school circulates a really awful picture, and all of a sudden he is, in his words "a poster child for bullied children." This book, thank God, transcended being an after school This was a really well done portrait of what racism and bullying can look like in a high school. Bijan just wants to fit in at his mostly white, mostly upper class high school. He has a love interest and has a best friend and basically wants everyone to forget that his parents are Iranian and Jordanian. But someone at his school circulates a really awful picture, and all of a sudden he is, in his words "a poster child for bullied children." This book, thank God, transcended being an after school special and was a thoughtful, heart-wrenching story. I got to know and like Bijan, and enjoyed learning about his struggle to figure out who he was and where he fit in in the schematic of his high school. 4.5 stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    3.5 Stars A well done novel that incorporates so many issues in an approachable and relatable way. There were so many instances of humor and truth (I especially love when Bijan and Marcus bond over being an “other” at their school). A bit too much basketball talk for me but the biggest issue I have is that the writing is more middle grade level while the issues are more for the young adult genre.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    3.5 stars ARC provided by Algonquin via B&T ARC program Great story! I did wish for a bit more character development in several places, so that characters' actions felt more believable. This is an important story, and I love how basketball is woven into the story line. This will hopefully help a wider audience pick up this book!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This is a story that is happening in schools all over the country. Until our students start to recognize the overt racist comments and behaviors they have, our country will not change. Books like this help students see into the lives of those who are different from themselves and hopefully build more empathy for those around them.

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