You're Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood

You're Not Proper

Written by Tariq Mehmood
Illustrated by
Part of the Striker Series


You're Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood

Karen thinks she's not proper white. Her dad is Pakistani and her mother is white Christian, and somehow she feels as if she doesn't quite fit in...anywhere. So she's made a choice: she's switching sides. Karen's going to convert to Islam to find her true identity. But Shamshad, her Hijab-wearing school mate, isn't making things easy for her. What's her deal, anyway? Is Shamshad really any more proper than herself? Trouble and turmoil await in the old textile mill town of Boardhead East, as school battles are replaced by family troubles, name calling turns to physical confrontation and cataclysmic secrets are unveiled. Set against a backdrop of seething Islamaphobia, You're Not Proper is the first in the Striker series, written by Tariq Mehmood and Pete Kalu to shine a light on issues of identity, religion, politics and class affecting young people today - a unique new series in young adult fiction.


'You're Not Proper is a real insight into communities more often talked about than listened to. But it's not just an important book - it's full of heart and a cracking good read as well. Highly recommended!'

. 'Contemporary and hard-hitting, You're Not Proper is the story of two girls with one religion and two very different lifestyles ... High on impact and highly engaging, it truly is a story of our age.

, critic, librarian and coordinator of the Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award). Mehmood gives us a sterotype-quashing, timely novel about religion, gender, and families. He is as astute about class difference and social injustice as he is about the growing Islamophobic racism hijabis face both in their everyday life and when the EDL come to demonstrate. Mehmood also writes very richly about South Asian food, the diverse congregations of mosques, and what instant messaging is doing to the English language. Despite all the conflict along the way, the novel ends on a note of reconciliation between light and shade. You're Not Proper sounds a resonant, authentic note that cuts through the monotone voices coming out of YA writing. (Dr Claire Chambers, Huffington Post). An excellent book! Mehmood does an excellent job of describing what every day life is like in Manchester for Kiran, which will be fascinating for US readers. Too many times, the only British books that make it across the pond are about middle class, white children whose main concern is saving the world from some fantasy villain! This read quite a lot like a Jacqueline Wilson book with Pakistani characters. I gave this to one of my students, an avid reader who recently took to wearing a hijab, and her eyes lit up when she saw the title. 'That's exactly what MY family said!

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About the Author

Tariq Mehmood is an award winning writer and film-maker. His books include Hand On the Sun (Penguin), While There Is Light (Comma). He co-directed the award-winning documentary Injustice. He currently teaches at the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon and lives in Beirut and Manchester.

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Book Info


104 pages


Tariq Mehmood
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Publication date

19th March 2015



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