MVP’s Most Anticipated Books: 2023 edition (part one)

Here is a list of some of our most anticipated books by Muslim creatives publishing in the first half of 2023!


The Kindest Red by Ibtijah Muhammad and S.K. Ali, illus. Hatem Aly

The highly-anticipated sequel to The Proudest Blue; a NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER which explores sisterhood, and kindness, from trailblazer and Olympic medallist Ibtihaj Muhammad.

I want a kind world. A world where kindness passes from one to another.

When Faizah’s teacher asks her class to imagine what kind of world they want to live in Faizah imagines a world where everyone is kind to one another, and tries to create that world in the school playground. But what Faizah wants most is be like her big sister, Asiya. Will Faizah’s classmates repay her kindness and find a way for her to match Asiya in time for school photo day?

An important and uplifting story about celebrating each other’s differences and similarities.

Andersen Press, 5th January. Grab a copy here.


Rida and Madiya by Niyla Farook, illus. Umar Najeeb Khan

Book Band: Dark Red, ideal for ages 10+

An uplifting story about family and overcoming differences, written by debut author Niyla Farook. 


Rida and Madiya may have the same mum, but that’s about all they have in common. They argue about everything, and when they find out the local library is in trouble, their competition over who can raise the most money only ends up making things worse between them! Working together might be the only way to save the library, but can the sisters put their differences aside to do it?

This heart-warming story of siblinghood features beautiful black-and-white illustrations by Umair Najeeb Khan.

Bloomsbury, 5th January. Grab a copy here.


People Change by Sara Jafari

When Shirin bumps into Kian at a house party in Brixton, she is taken aback by the feelings that resurface.

They last saw one another ten years ago as sixteen-year-olds at school in Hull. And the weight of everything left unsaid since then still hangs between them.

But now they’re back in each other’s lives, it’s harder to run from the past.

There’s nothing worse than losing the person you trust with your deepest secrets.

Can it be different second time around?

People Change is a moving and thought-provoking exploration of two people overcoming the past, re-finding each other and discovering their place in the world.

Cornerstone, 2nd February. Grab a copy here.

How to Make Money by Nafisa Bakkar

Do I believe in myself enough to do this? How do I find my first 100 customers? How do I make my first £100k? Can I run an ethical business and still make money? 

For Nafisa Bakkar (CEO and Forbes Under 30), the secret to building a business from scratch is all about asking – and answering – the right questions. When she started out, Nafisa had an idea, some passion and £50 to spend on her venture. But over the next twelve months, she hustled to find the answer to every problem she faced. Six years later – with no network, no capital, and no previous industry knowledge – her business AMALIAH is the leading media platform in the UK for Muslim women, and works with household names like Lush, Pinterest, Dove and Universal. 

How to Make Money explains exactly how she did it, and contains the game-changing advice needed for every entrepreneur and potential business owner to do it too. From breaking into an industry and finding your product-market-fit, to making your first £100k, there’s no book that offers a more comprehensive guide to building your first business.

So whether you’re wanting to transform a fledgling side-hustle into a full time endeavour, turn your 5-to-9 into your 9-to-5, or simply have an idea that’s keeping you up in the night, How to Make Money is the ultimate toolkit for turning your pipe-dream into a reality.

HarperCollins, 2nd February. Grab a copy here.


You Think You Know Me by Ayaan Mohamud

A stunning debut about finding the strength to speak up against hate and fear, for fans of The Hate U Give and I Am Thunder.

People like me are devils before we are angels.
Hanan has always been good and quiet. She accepts her role as her school’s perfect Muslim poster girl. She ignores the racist bullies.
A closed mouth is gold – it helps you get home in one piece.
Then her friend is murdered and every Muslim is to blame.
The world is angry at us again.
How can she stay silent while her family is ripped apart? It’s time for Hanan to stop being the quiet, good girl. It’s time for her to stand up and shout.

Usborne, 2nd February. Grab a copy here.


A Bit of Earth by Karuna Riazi

Maria Latif is used to not having a space of her own. But what happens when she feels the sudden urge to put down roots in the most unexpected of places? Karuna Riazi crafts a tender coming-of-age story about friendship, family, and new beginnings. A Bit of Earth is a reimagining of the classic The Secret Garden, perfect for fans of Other Words for Home and The Bridge Home

Growing up in Pakistan, Maria Latif has been bounced between reluctant relatives for as long as she can remember–first because of her parents’ constant travel, and then because of their deaths. Maria has always been a difficult child, and it never takes long for her guardians to tire of her. So when old friends of her parents offer to “give her a better life” in the United States, Maria is shipped to a host family across the world.

When Maria arrives on Long Island, things are not quite what she was expecting. Mr. Clayborne has left on an extended business trip, Mrs. Clayborne seems emotionally fraught, and inexplicable things keep happening in the Claybornes’ sprawling house. And then Maria finds a locked gate to an off-limits garden. Since she’s never been good at following rules, Maria decides to investigate and discovers something she never thought she’d find: a place where she feels at home.

With a prickly main character, a sullen boy, two friendly allies, and a locked garden, A Bit of Earth has everything a reader could want from a retelling of The Secret Garden. Karuna Riazi’s evocative prose is interspersed with poetic verses, illuminating each character’s search for a place they can truly call home. This tender yet incisive reimagining of a classic work will captivate fans of the original–and widen the appeal for a modern audience.

HarperCollins, 27th April. Grab a copy here.


Not Now, Noor! by Farhana Islam, illus. Nabila Adani

Noor loves her mum, and all the other hijabi women in her family, but wonders why do they wear headscarves? Is it so they can hide snacks for later? Or because they’re a super spy and hiding their secret identity?

Full of curiousity, Noor sets out to find her answer, but her family are all busy and have no time to answer this important question. Just as Noor is ready to give up on her quest, her Ammu arrives home and knows just the thing to say.

This heart-warming yet funny tale is a celebration of Muslim women, curious children, and family love.

Penguin, 16th March. Grab a copy here.


The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Pride and Prejudice in this swoony and thoughtful romantic comedy from debut author Priyanka Taslim.  

Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty – but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in New Jersey. While Zahra plans to save money for college by working through the summer at a tea shop, her meddling mum is convinced that a “good match” in marriage will solve their family’s financial woes.  

Enter Harun Emon, the wealthy, devastatingly handsome and . . . aloof boy Zahra is set up with. As soon as they meet, Zahra and Harun both know it’s not going to work. It’s nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets her in a way no one has before. Deciding to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans, Zahra and Harun pretend to date, while Zahra explores her feelings for Nayim. For once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too.  

But life – and boys – can be a royal pain. With her feelings all mixed up, will Zahra be a good Bengali kid or can she find her one true love match?   

Perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Sandhya Menon, Emma Lord and Beth O’Leary. 

Simon & Schuster, 2nd March. Grab a copy here.


The Next New Syrian Girl by Ream Shukairy

Furia meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter about the unlikely friendship between two very different Syrian girls, the pressures and expectations of the perfect Syrian daughter, and the repercussions of the Syrian Revolution both at home and abroad.

Khadija Shami
 is a Syrian American high school senior raised on boxing and football. Saddled with a monstrous ego and a fierce mother to test it, she dreams of escaping her sheltered life to travel the world with her best friend.

Leene Tahir is a Syrian refugee, doing her best to adjust to the wildly unfamiliar society of a suburban Detroit high school while battling panic attacks and family pressures.

When their worlds collide the result is catastrophic. To Khadija, Leene embodies the tame, dutiful Syrian ideal she’s long rebelled against. And to Leene, Khadija is the strong-willed, closed-off American who makes her doubt her place in the world.

But as Khadija digs up Leene’s past, a startling and life-changing discovery forces the two of them closer together. As the girls secretly race to unravel the truth, a friendship slowly and hesitantly begins blooming. Doubts are cast aside as they realize they have more in common than they each expected. What they find takes them on a journey all the way to Jordan, challenging what each knows about the other and herself. 

Fans of Samira Ahmed’s Love, Hate, and Other Filters and Tahereh Mafi’s A Very Large Expanse OfSeawill love Khadija and Leene’s sharp-witted voices in this dual POV narrative. The Next New Syrian Girlis a poignant and timely blend of guilt, nostalgia, devotion, and bad-ass hijabees.

Hachette, 30th March. Grab a copy here.


Good for Nothing by Mariam Ansar

When three teens are landed with a community service order after an incident involving a spray can and an inconveniently timed patrol car, their stories start to converge.

Amir is the angry boy who won’t talk about the brother he lost – but he won’t let his name be forgotten either.

Eman is the awkward girl whose favourite evenings are spent at home watching TV with her Nani.

Kemi
is the determined athlete who knows she deserves as good a shot as anyone else – if only she can get to the starting line.

As they spend more time together they learn more about themselves, and in the process realise the true cause of Amir’s brother’s death . . .
This is one summer they will never forget.

Penguin, 16th March. Grab a copy here.


The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty

Shannon Chakraborty, the bestselling author of The City of Brass, launches a new trilogy of magic and mayhem with this tale of pirates and sorcerers, forbidden artefacts and ancient mysteries, and one woman’s quest to seize a final chance at glory…

A pirate of infamy and one of the most storied and scandalous captains to sail the seven seas.

Amina al-Sirafi has survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.

But when she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse, she jumps at the chance for one final adventure with her old crew that will make her a legend and offers a fortune that will secure her and her family’s future forever.

Yet the deeper Amina dives the higher the stakes. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savour just a bit more power…and the price might be your very soul.

HarperCollins, 2nd March. Grab a copy here.


Call Me Adnan by Reem Faruqi


Adnan Zakir loves table tennis. One thing he doesn’t like is losing. He’s colorblind, left-handed, and has a fondness for the aviation alphabet. He’s super close with his sister, Aaliyah, who is a great dancer and memorizer of the Quran, and he loves his little toddler brother, Rizwan, who only wants to grow up and play table tennis like his big brother. 

All Adnan dreams of is to make it to the Ultimate Table Tennis Championship in Florida, but first he must qualify at his local Atlanta playoffs. Adnan’s cousins live in Florida, and if he qualifies for the tournament, he knows he will get to spend the Eid holiday with his cousins. When Adnan qualifies, he can’t wait for the most epic Eid ever! 

But when the family travels to Florida for the tournament, an unthinkable tragedy strikes, and Adnan swears he’ll never play table tennis ever again. Slowly, he and his family must learn to make peace and heal, as Adnan finds a way to move past what happened and find hope once more.

Reem has written another poignant, heartfelt, and powerful middle grade novel about a Muslim family that must cope with a terrible loss and come together as one again.

HarperCollins, 16th May. Grab a copy here.


The Retreat by Zara Raheem

In Zara Raheem’s newest novel we meet Nadia Abbasi – whose attempts to save her marriage create unexpected complications – and follow her as she navigates the twists and turns of love. Perfect for fans of Sonali Dev, Christina Lauren, and Sara Desai.

Nadia Abbasi’s marriage is falling apart. It starts with a gifted Roomba, but when she stumbles upon some questionable photos in her husband Aman’s office, everything makes sense—the late-night texting, the sudden interest in fitness, the new clothes. Aman—the kind, thoughtful man she married—is having an affair.

Determined to find out what went wrong in her marriage, Nadia enlists the help of Zeba, the estranged sister she hasn’t seen or spoken to since their mom’s funeral over a year ago. As the two sisters fight to reconcile their past, Nadia realizes her relationship with Aman is not the only one that needs mending.

Nevertheless, the plan itself is simple: confront the “other woman” and win back her husband. Her clumsy attempt at sleuthing leads her from yoga studio—Aman’s latest hangout—to a three-day wellness retreat in the foothills of the Santa Monica mountains. But somewhere in between falling out of tree pose and choking down plant-based meals, Nadia’s plans unravel again when she discovers more than she expected about herself, her husband, and the nature of love.

HarperCollins, 25th May. Grab a copy here.


Zara’s Rules for Living Your Best Life by Hena Khan

From the award-winning author of Amina’s Voice and Amina’s Song comes the third book in the charming middle grade Zara’s Rules series following Zara as she tries to save her spring break!

It’s spring break and Zara and Naomi have big plans…until Zara finds out that Naomi’s parents are sending her to camp and Zara and Zayd are going to spend the week with their grandparents. Zara’s pretty sure it’s a rule that spring break is supposed to be full of fun and adventure–not doing chores for Naano and watching Nana Abu doze on the couch! But ever since Nana Abu retired, it seems all he wants to do is eat and sleep, and Zara’s worried their grandfather has lost his mojo. 

Meanwhile, Naomi’s having a blast at her day camp. Since Zara can’t join her, can Zara find a way to bring the fun of camp to her grandparents’ home? With a little help from Zayd, Zara concocts a plan that just might save her vacation–and help her grandfather start living his best life.

Simon & Schuster, 21st March. Grab a copy here.


Rosie Raja: Mission to Cairo by Sufiya Ahmed

‘A vivid and grippingsuperbly told historical adventure.’ Sophie Anderson, author of The House with Chicken Legs and The Girl Who Speaks Bear on Rosie Raja: Churchill’s Spy

It is the autumn of 1941, and Rosie Raja is back for another action-packed and electrifying adventure. After successfully helping her spy father complete his mission in France, Rosie has gained quite a reputation for herself and is determined to continue her secret agent escapades.

This time around, Rosie finds herself undercover in the magnificent and scorching city of Cairo, officially to make sure Egypt’s amazing historical artefacts are kept safe from the Nazis… but really to root out a traitor in the British ranks. With the stakes higher than they’ve ever been, can Rosie and her father keep each other safe? 

A thrilling and empowering coming-of-age WWII adventure set in the dazzling city of Cairo which follows an engaging, determined, Muslim heroine called Rosina Raja. Perfect for fans of Michael Morpurgo and Emma Carroll, and those looking for diverse historical fiction.

Bloomsbury, 8th June. Grab a copy here.


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