Thursday, June 4, 2009

Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Language: English
Source: Library
Synopsis: If Nina Khan were to rate herself on the unofficial Pakistani prestige point system – the one she’s sure all the aunties and uncles use to determine the most attractive marriage prospects for their children – her scoring might go something like this:

+2 points for getting excellent grades
–3 points for failing to live up to expectations set by genius older sister +4 points for dutifully obeying parents and never, ever going to parties, no matter how antisocial that makes her seem to everyone at Deer Hook High
–1 point for harboring secret jealousy of her best friends, who are allowed to date like normal teenagers
+2 points for never drinking an alcoholic beverage
–10 points for obsessing about Asher Richelli, who talks to Nina like she’s not a freak at all, even though he knows that she has a disturbing line of hair running down her back
In this wryly funny debut novel, the smart, sassy, and utterly lovable Nina Khan tackles friends, family, and love, and learns that it’s possible to embrace two very different cultures – even if things can get a little bit, well, hairy.

Like the description says, Nina's a Muslim Pakistani girl having a bit of trouble with meshing her American culture while maintaing her Pakistani heritage. Nina has always been the good girl, following all of her parent's instructions: getting great grades (have to live up to her sister's shadow!), no partying and most of all, no boys. Nina's used to this and feels like she'll never have fun like her two best friends do. But her opinions change when Asher strolls into math class; she immediately gets a crush on Asher but the problem is, so does the rest of the female population at school. Nina is dismayed when Asher starts dating Serena, a girl that Nina's always disliked and wonders if she'll ever get the normal teenage experience.
I was a little disappointed with this book. Nina is a smart, sarcastic girl and gives a witty commentary on life. Her two best friends, dreamy Helena and goofy Bridget, were polar opposites that usually managed to get Nina out of her funk whenever she'd sink into a melancholy state. They were good characters that always made the point of making Nina step out of her bubble so she could live life and not just stand by. What I enjoyed was Nina giving me a glimpse into a culture I wasn't familiar with. Her parents are conservative and very strict as to what she can and can't do. The strongest point in this novel was when Asher appeared...Nina's beliefs were challenged. Her interest in Asher was the catalyst for Nina to examine her lifestyle. Asher was almost like her first puppy love, and it was cute to see how they flirted with each other. Also, it was extremely relatable to watch as Nina pined for Asher when he started going out with one of the most prettiest (and one of the meanest) girls in school. (there's that teenage drama for ya!) I'm pretty sure every girl has gone through that-watching someone you like being with someone you can't stand. Nina had to wrestle with him dating Serena not only because she didn't her but also because she felt ugly in comparion. (Serena being the typical blonde, blue-eyed girl with the annoyingly cute upturned-nose while Nina was dark and furry, lol.)

Throughout the story, Nina learns to love herself for who she is and even starts to repair her relationship with her estranged sister. I guess you could thank Asher for that since his appearance inadvertently opened Nina up a bit. I liked that about Asher. Nina (and all the other characters) were well-developed but I felt like the author could've done a lot more with this story! What I DIDN'T like was that the ending leaves you with some unresolved issues. Now, I know some people like it that way, making the ending ambiguous and up to your own interpretation...but I don't. I like to see resolutions be made. That was my main problem with Skunk girl although it ended the way it had to.

rating: 3.0


  1. Sookie dates different people, but there aren't that much...
    two vampires, a werewolf, werepanther... I think that's it.

    And no problem, I like you and your blog ^^

    And yeah The Hunger Games apparently is becoming a movie ^^

  2. Interesting concept for a book. I really haven't heard of this book before you reviewed it.