I love a good road trip book - and this one definitely did not disappoint!

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim.

This story follows a group of three friends, Umar, Ghaz, and Mariam. After a risque photo of Ghaz ends up on a billboard in Times Square, Umar and Mariam come up with a plan to save her from her super-strict parents who are keeping her locked up for the rest of the summer. They decide to go on a road trip to get away from their families and to make some new memories. The friends drive from New Jersey through to Nashville and finally to New Orleans - stopping along the way at grubby diners, honky-tonks, and a Muslim convention. Along the way, each friend learns more about themselves - as well as about their friends.

First and for most, I picked this book up because it is a book about a road trip and if you know me, you'll know that I'm a firm believer that a road trip can make almost any book better. I loved the stops along the way - how even something as simple as stopping at a gas station was an actual part of the story, not just a plot point.

This book also deals with some more serious topics, juxtaposed with the lightness of the road trip. One of the friends, Umar, struggles with reconciling being gay and being Muslim. There is a lot of great discussion in the book between the characters about what that means for Umar and how particularly religious people - like his parents - will take the news. I thought it was really well handled and a very realistic portrayal of the situation.

Another friend Ghaz frequently talked about her relationship with her mother and living up to the expectations of the community. In the case of both her and Umar, even though they are giving specific examples from their lives of their problems, Karim writes them in such a way that is accessible even to people who are non-Muslim but can still relate to these issues because they are things almost everyone goes through - figuring out who you are, dealing with overbearing parents.

Mariam also takes advantage of this trip to try to find the father she has never really known after he left when she was two years old. I won't spoil too much but I will say that I definitely related to Mariam in trying to find out why she was the way she was, why in her last relationship she got spooked and ghosted the guy.

Overall, I thought this was a really good road trip story about three friends who help each other find themselves.