Nimra's nervous, but as long as she has Jenna, her best friend who already goes to the public school, she figures she can take on just about anything.
Unfortunately, middle school is hard. The teachers are mean, the schedule is confusing, and Jenna starts giving hijab-wearing Nimra the cold shoulder around the other kids.
Desperate to fit in and get back in Jenna's good graces, Nimra accepts an unlikely invitation to join the school's popular 8th grade boy band, Barakah Beats. The only problem is, Nimra was taught that music isn't allowed in Islam, and she knows her parents would be disappointed if they found out. So she devises a simple plan: join the band, win Jenna back, then quietly drop out before her parents find out.
But dropping out of the band proves harder than expected. Not only is her plan to get Jenna back working, but Nimra really likes hanging out with the band -- they value her contributions and respect how important her faith is to her. Then Barakah Beats signs up for a talent show to benefit refugees, and Nimra's lies start to unravel. With the show only a few weeks away and Jenna's friendship hanging in the balance, Nimra has to decide whether to betray her bandmates -- or herself.
I can't think of another book that portrays a tween or teen completing Hifz, but I hope that we see more books that include this rite of passage.
Nimra's problems with Jenna are the ones that will speak to most readers, because friendship drama in middle school is a given. It's usually not as horrible as one expects, but it is there. I wish that we had seen a little more of the girls' earlier friendship, because I never felt like Jenna was ever a very good friend to Nimra.
Hand this to readers who loved Jones' Girl vs. Boy Band, Triana's Backstage Pass, Haston's How to Rock Braces and Glasses, or Rue's Rock and Roll Rebel, or who have found Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana somewhere and aspire to their own rock careers.