Lahore, Pakistan. Then.
Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.
Juniper, California. Now.
Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding.
Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.
When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.
From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness—one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.
Thoughts and Themes: I had heard about this book all over bookstagram and booktok so when I got an advanced listening copy from libro.fm I was so happy to get a change to listen to it. I really enjoyed so much about this book regardless of the emotional roller coaster that it put me on. This book goes through grief, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, rage, and more.
Right from the start of this book, my heart was broken for Salahudin and Noor. This book makes you fall in love with a character to only take her away way too soon. This has to happen though in order for the rest of the events in this book to take place and go the way that they did.
Characters: There are quite a few characters that you get to meet throughout this book through the different interactions that they have with the main characters, Misbah, Salahudin and Noor.
I really enjoy the relationship between Nor and Sal and how that changes from the start of the book to the end. I love how these two trust each other over anyone else, and how that trust developed through their childhood and experiences that they share.
I like the relationship that you get to see between Misbah, her son, Salahudin, and Noor. I like how Misbah was like a mother figure to Noor, and what that meant for both of them. I really liked how Misbah allowed Noor to be herself and taught her about religion even if Noor’s uncle didn’t want that.
Writing Style: This book is told in the first person through the perspectives of Misbah, Salahudin, and Noor. The story goes back and forth from the past to the present. When you are hearing from Misbah, you are taken to the past and are in Pakistan, and when you are hearing from Sal and Noor, you are in the present in California.
I love how you learn more about each of the characters as you listen to the chapters that are written through each of their perspective. I also like that you not only learn about themselves but you learn about the past such as Sal’s childhood through Misbah’s section. I also like that hearing from each of them means you get to know more about this story than some are willing to share.
I really enjoyed how you got to see each of the characters feelings and while they tried to hide their feelings, you got to know them. I liked how in certain sections depending on who was speaking you couldn’t tell how the others felt in a situation but then you went into their chapter and learned exactly how they felt.
Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.