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A Thousand Questions
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
21 posts | 10 read | 11 to read
Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqis tender and honest middle grade novel tells the story of two girls navigating a summer of change and family upheaval with kind hearts, big dreams, and all the right questions. Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents shes never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal. The cooks daughter, Sakina, still hasnt told her parents that shell be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test scorebut then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich familys kitchen? Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in commonand that they each need the other to get what they want most. This relatable and empathetic story about two friends coming to understand each other will resonate with readers who loved Other Words for Home and Front Desk.
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Bookgoil
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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I read 34 books in September, so many amazing books as I was working through the Caudill nominees on audio and some fun graphic novels as well. My standouts were:

Wash Day Diaries
Batter Royale
The Consumption of Magic
Legends and Lattes
A Thousand Questions
Fighting Words

Hope I have just as great a month in October!

review
Zoes_Human
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Pickpick

An exceptional middle-grade, realistic and contemporary novel that touches on complicated topics such as absentee fathers, single mothers, multicultural families, and cultural difference. The characters are complex with flaws and strengths. The narration was fantastic, and I plan to seek out more work by these readers. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is both personal and a spoiler. See comments below if interested.

Zoes_Human Mimi's dad has been absent from her life since she was 5, and she is now 11. The book gives a happy sort of ending where she connects with her dad, she reaches closure about why he left, and he promises to stay in touch from now on. Nice for lovers of happy endings, but not so great for kids with actual absentee parents. Parents who skip out for 6 years don't come back. Oh I'm sure there's a few heartwarming real-life stories out there, but the re 13mo
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Chrissyreadit
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Pickpick

I both loved this book and had a frustration I will put in comments under spoiler. Over all I highly recommend this MG book that takes place in #pakistan between two girls in very different circumstances, their friendship and their families. #foodandlit

Chrissyreadit I can‘t understand how a father who was present for 5 years, and is presented as a decent human being, could remain completely out of contact and support for his daughter. This really bothered me. 1y
megnews I felt like that part of the story was a bit contrived because no reason was ver given. But of course I guess it happens. 1y
Chrissyreadit @megnews I know it can happen, but it just doesn‘t fit the profile for the dynamic in the story we were given. 1y
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erzascarletbookgasm
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this lovely story of friendship between two girls from different backgrounds and cultures, also touching on family, privileges, and politics. Saadia Faruqi wrote the book to share her childhood memories, her heritage. A sweet and hopeful story; a solid read for young readers for its diversity.
#ownvoices
#audiobook
#MGbuddyread

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Butterfinger
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Pickpick

Such a wonderful book for a child to learn about today's Pakistan and the division of classes in this nation. I fell in love with Mimi and Sakina. I will reread this in August for #FoodandLit with my 10 year old. #MGBuddyRead @megnews #ReadingAsia @BarbaraBB @Librarybelle

Librarybelle Hooray! Glad it was a great book! 1y
Chrissyreadit Ohhh! Maybe I can read it then. I did not get a hold of it for this month. 1y
Chrissyreadit You and I typed at the same time 🤣 1y
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Roary47
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Mehso-so

3✨ This actually didn‘t take me that long, but it felt like it did. I enjoyed it, but reading it as a Kindle was difficult in learning terms I didn‘t know. The glossary is there I think I am just not confident enough to go back and forth without losing my place. Overall, I enjoyed learning about a culture I was not too familiar with. Read for #MGBuddyRead

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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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megnews I think this is such a valuable book to be on middle grade shelves. Learning more about another country‘s and religion‘s customs is so valuable. 1y
mrp27 I really enjoyed the authors notes at the end of this and I agreed with a lot of what she said and why she wrote this book. So glad to see representation in mg fiction. 1y
ravenlee I appreciated the religious life as it‘s portrayed here, and the look at the class system in Pakistan. Mimi‘s realizations throughout the story about how wealthy they are in comparison to how they life in Houston, and how fortunate she is to attend school; those are good takeaways. 1y
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ravenlee It was very interesting reading this when I read I Am Malala last month. The importance of education and access to opportunity for girls and poor children resonate through both. 1y
Daisey I sometimes find it hard to get kids to try books about a completely different culture. I really appreciated how this book showed a different culture through the eyes of the two characters and feel it may help get the book in the hands of more readers since they have something to identify with as well. 1y
megnews @Daisey interesting I was thinking how there was nothing like this when I was young and how much I would have wanted to learn about a different culture through fiction 1y
Roary47 I think kids would learn a lot from this book. I‘m not sure there was enough drama in it though. I learned a lot, but I don‘t know if (based on books they do read) my nieces would be engaged enough. 1y
JaclynW @megnews @ravenlee @Daisey @roary47 @mrp27 I agree with what you've said above about this book being a good representation of another country, race, class, religion. It does skim the surface though in many ways, so hopefully that would want to make the reader do more research. I too like that one girl was from the US so that you had a compare/contrast element going on. Although at times, I felt like all (most?) Americans are spoiled and --> 1y
JaclynW ignorant in their comments and actions. Mimi was this way a lot. I cringed every time. But I guess that is why more books like this are needed, right?? I agree with @Daisey that many kids would not pick a book like this up on their own. Typically, I have seen this happen only if a teacher or friend have read it and highly recommend. These aren't the books they usually pick up. Unfortunately. I really enjoyed this book overall.
1y
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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megnews I hope Sakina‘s life is different from having learned more English from Mimi. I hope Mimi will return to the US recognizing how lucky she is and how her way of life is not the only one. 1y
mrp27 I think they equally learned from each other and both came away with the understanding that no matter who we are, or what have don‘t have, we all have our dreams and struggles. 1y
mrp27 and complicated family relationships. 1y
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ravenlee I think they learned our similarities outweigh our differences; and the differences highlight what we have that is special. Sakina is disadvantaged economically, but she has a loving family and a host of life skills that Mimi lacks. Mimi comes to appreciate the luxury of access to education and comparative wealth. But most of all they now have each other. 1y
Daisey @ravenlee expressed this very well! I think both learned a lot and will be better for it. I hope they stay friends and continue to learn from each other. 1y
megnews @daisey I agree about @ravenlee‘s statement. It would be nice to read a sequel of Sakina visiting Mimi in the US. 1y
BarbaraJean @mrp27 I love the idea that they came away with a better understanding of how much they had in common. I really appreciated how the book drew out each girl's struggles--their situations and difficulties are so different, but I felt like both were given equal emotional weight. And they found common ground in those very different struggles. 1y
mrp27 @BarbaraJean Agreed! No matter how culturally we‘re different, we‘re still the same! 1y
ravenlee Thanks @Daisey @megnews I would also love to see a continuation - wouldn‘t it be amazing if Sakina got a college scholarship to a US university? 1y
Roary47 I agree with @mrp27 they learned from each other. Sakina learned that American are not all spoiled and rude. Mimi learned about her heritage and that the things she sometimes takes for granted, like affording medicine, are hard for others to obtain. 1y
JaclynW @ravenlee @megnews @Daisey Oh yes! A sequel of Sakina coming to the US could be interesting. I love the college idea.
1y
JaclynW I especially loved how each girl saw in each other strengths and struggles. No one way is right/wrong, all people have issues to work through and all people have good things to be grateful for (no matter of the scale in which they come). It showed the human condition and spirit. This book also showed how we have more in common and how we can build bridges and help raise each other up. So many hearts for these issues presented in the book!! 1y
20 likes13 comments
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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megnews Obviously Mimi & Sakina‘s story shows us place shapes us. From whether and how much the circumstances of our birth fix our place in life to manners to the things that are important to us. 1y
mrp27 Place certainly shapes our identity. 1y
ravenlee Place and culture are huge influences in who we become! The luckiest of us are those who have access to more than one place in our lives. 1y
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megnews @ravenlee so true! Love that answer! 1y
Blackink_WhitePaper I completely agree with @ravenlee . Both place and culture shape our identity. In this regard even education / reading plays a key role, by which we can learn and understand about various places and culture. 1y
Roary47 I completely agree @ravenlee I have the advantage of enjoying Hispanic culture where I live along with my own culture. Growing up accepting that I‘m a minority being a white girl developed my acceptance of other cultures where my grandparents didn‘t because they grew up as the majority. (edited) 1y
JaclynW @roary47 I totally agree that diversity can really enrich all of our lives. 1y
24 likes7 comments
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Thoughts?

#MGBuddyRead

megnews I‘m always interested to see how other cultures view ours. I think much of the world thinks Americans in general are materialistic, shallow, self-absorbed. I‘m not sure they‘re altogether wrong. 1y
mrp27 Although it‘s a broad generalization I agree that there‘s is some truth in this. 1y
ravenlee Well, stereotypes are often rooted in a small truth; but here we also see the danger in judging a culture by its media portrayals. I sure don‘t want to be judged by Kardashian standards, or anything else on tv. 1y
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BarbaraJean @ravenlee Completely agree about the danger of judging a whole culture/country based on its media! (Although as @megnews said, it can be fascinating to see how other cultures view the USA.) I do think there's some truth in Sakina's observations, though. American kids, in general, are socialized to be more independent, and questioning of authority is certainly far more encouraged in American culture. 1y
megnews @ravenlee agreed! @mrp27 yes I‘m speaking in generalizations here. 1y
JaclynW @megnews @mrp27 @ravenlee @barbaraJean Having friends that live in other countries and having traveled to several countries, it is very interesting to get their take on Americans. There is both an awe and disgust by a lot of what our culture is/does. I agree that we have to be careful of stereotypes and judging an entire region based on a few people or incidents. But there is small truths in all of it. This is where getting to know people ---> 1y
JaclynW on an individual basis, like Mimi and Sakira did, can really break down some of those stereotypes and where people can really relate and find commonalities. We need to do so much more of this - within our own country and outside of its borders too. 1y
Butterfinger So much good stuff here. @ravenlee I would not want to be thrown into the same lot as Hollywood either. @BarbaraJean you are so right - we do want our children to question and be independent and honest. @JaclynW agree 1y
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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mrp27 Sakina‘s relationship with her family felt authentic. Her desire for an education made me think a lot about how much I‘ve taken for granted in my life and in this country. 1y
BarbaraJean I really liked the way the book draws out the contrast between Sakina‘s family and Mimi‘s family relationships. Obvious cultural and class differences, but also showing the closeness of Sakina‘s family and her gratitude for that. It broke my heart that an 11-year-old had to deal with the burden of giving up an education to help provide for her family, on top of worries about her father‘s medical care. (edited) 1y
ravenlee I hated how much pressure Sakina‘s parents put on her, and how desperate that made her feel. The whole notion of her needing to be the grown-up and taking responsibility for her father‘s medical care…it‘s just heartbreaking. 1y
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ravenlee I did like how Sakina and Nani started to develop a relationship toward the end. It shows Sakina maturing in the right kind of way and Nani opening up her mind and heart. I think Nani has been missing her kids/family, and maybe she‘s realizing she could have family of another sort. 1y
Daisey I thought that the portrayal of Sakina‘s family and their closeness was wonderful. It was sad to see Sakina bearing so much of the burden but also authentic. I also loved seeing the development of the relationship between Nani and Sakina. (edited) 1y
megnews @mrp27 @BarbaraJean @ravenlee @Daisey I liked the closeness between Sakina and her father. It was hard to see how obligated Sakina was to the family‘s welfare. We forget only 100 years ago many children here faced the same burdens. 1y
Butterfinger @mrp27 @Daisey @BarbaraJean @ravenlee I agree with all of you. I just adored Sakina - hunger for knowledge, loyalty to family, even her opinions on the politics. So mature, but forced to be. 1y
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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megnews I‘m not 100% convinced he didn‘t want to be a part of Mimi‘s life but I also felt he sure could have tried a lot harder. 1y
mrp27 He broke my heart a bit. I felt that his career and his needs came first and he definitely could have tried harder. 1y
BarbaraJean I was frustrated by the way he was portrayed. @megnews I agree that it didn‘t seem he didn‘t want to be part of her life. So why did he ignore her all those years? His actions in leaving and not keeping in touch seemed very indifferent toward Mimi, so the immediate turnaround and openness to a relationship after he reads her journal seemed unrealistic. 1y
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ravenlee I agree that his turnaround seemed really abrupt. He‘s been gallivanting for six years? And it never occurred to him that he left behind a small person who needed him in her life? Ok, maybe, but then all of a sudden he changes it all to be there for Mimi? Not so much. 1y
Daisey I had a hard time with this and wondered how much was perspective. It was hard to know how much he truly left and how much her mom kept them apart once he left. I agree with @BarbaraJean that the turnaround didn‘t seem quite realistic even with knowing her feelings from the journal, but I‘m also not sure we ever really knew whether he had tried some. 1y
Blackink_WhitePaper Author could have written more about Mimi‘s dad. His part of the story is still unclear for me. 1y
Roary47 I agree with @Daisey I think there may have been a lot of perspective going on here. I have niece who‘s dad has very little communication so it wasn‘t unbelievable. I really liked the journal entries to him I write to my daughters. It‘s nice writing to someone you know and you hope will read it one day. 1y
Butterfinger @Roary47 @Daisey @Blackink_WhitePaper @BarbaraJean @ravenlee @mrp27 I cannot condone leaving a child's life. How much of this book was from the author's life? It didn't say at the end if her husband left, just that the children and she visited Karachi. 1y
Butterfinger I loved the journal entries. I was afraid that Mimi would be upset with Sanaki for taking it. 1y
17 likes9 comments
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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It‘s time for #MGBuddyRead discussion! Join in when you can.

megnews I liked how independent Mimi‘s mom was. I was also annoyed by her comment to Mimi that her dad left “them.” It seems she also tried to keep Mimi & the dad apart. I‘m not sure if it‘s a cultural thing? If divorce is so taboo and final that it would be almost like the person never existed? 1y
megnews I found Mimi‘s grandma annoying but she‘s probably a product of the apparent caste system she‘s at the top of. 1y
mrp27 I liked Mimi‘s mom but I did not like how secretive she was. She‘s entitled to her own life but at times I felt that it did Mimi more harm than good. 1y
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BarbaraJean I initially really liked Mimi‘s mom and the relationship they seemed to have, but agree with @mrp27 about her secretiveness. There need to be good boundaries between parent and child, but the lack of communication was annoying, especially about Sohail. Mimi‘s grandmother grew on me by the end, as we got to see her concern for Sakina‘s father. 1y
mrp27 @BarbaraJean I agree about Nani, I didn‘t like her at first but she grew on me. 1y
ravenlee I ended up really disappointed in Mimi‘s mom. She acted like a spoiled child at her parents‘ house, then basically dumped Mimi there and just ran off to do her own stuff. Yes, she‘s entitled to a life, but she was so sneaky about everything. And I don‘t get the Sohail thing at all. Was she just enjoying the attention, the flirting? It felt like she needed to do a lot of growing up. 1y
ravenlee Nani was confusing. First impression was snobbish and elitist, but she did truly seem to care for the servants, too. It‘s contradictory, but I imagine that‘s fairly common in such a stratified society. 1y
megnews @BarbaraJean @ravenlee @mrp27 I agree Nani got better through the course of the book but it was sad someone had to be so sick for her to show this side. I also agree about Mimi‘s mom. I would have thought she‘d want to show Mimi around Karachi. 1y
Daisey @mrp27 @BarbaraJean @ravenlee I started out really liking Mimi‘s mom, but I was also disappointed with her over the course of the story. I felt she should have been more honest with Mimi and spent some quality time with her in the city she grew up in. The day they went shopping should have been just them, and she should have mentioned Sohail before Mimi met him. 1y
Blackink_WhitePaper @Daisey completely agree... I appreciated her enthusiasm in teaching at orphanage. But she could‘ve spent more time with Mimi explaining everything. 1y
Roary47 I agree with @ravenlee at first I liked her, but then Mimi‘s mom seemed spoiled and did her own thing and was secretive as many of you mentioned. Nani grew on me and I really liked how she help Sakina‘s family. 1y
Butterfinger @mrp27 @ravenlee @BarbaraJean @Roary47 @Blackink_WhitePaper @Daisey I wonder if writing the mom out of the way was the author's way to solidify the girls' relationship. I agree that the mom should have been there for Mimi. I'm just playing devil's advocate. Isn't it funny how ya novels, about grandchildren meeting their grandparents for the first time, have the unapproachable grandmother and the fun grandfather. I'm thinking of I Love You So Mochi. 1y
megnews @Butterfinger I see what your saying about purposefully writing it like that. Interesting. Men in general seem to have a more laid back approach to life. Another similar 1y
Butterfinger @megnews so funny. I just watched Pollyanna last night. 1y
megnews @Butterfinger that was her aunt wasn‘t it? I think I was confusing Hayley mills movies. I meant Parent Trap. I‘ve seen both so many times. 1y
17 likes15 comments
review
BarbaraJean
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Pickpick

This is a sweet Middle Grade novel focusing on two girls—Mimi, visiting her grandparents in Karachi, and Sakina, a servant girl who works for Mimi‘s grandparents. The alternating perspectives do a great job of highlighting cultural differences, as well as revealing each girl‘s individual struggles (without minimizing either). The ending resolves things a little too neatly, but I think that tends to be the nature of MG fiction. 😊 #MGBuddyRead

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Daisey
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Pickpick

This is a wonderful middle grade story of Mimi, an American girl from Houston, and Sakina, a Pakistani servant girl in Mimi‘s grandparents‘ home, when she visits them in Karachi for the summer. The two learn a lot about each others‘ culture and help each other as well. There are some real struggles, but it is also heartwarming and ultimately hopeful.

#MGBuddyRead #MiddleGrade #audiobook
#ReadingAsia2021 #ReadTheWorld #ReadingTheWorld #Pakistan

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ravenlee
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Pickpick

What a great book! Mimi, American, and Sakina, Pakistani, learn so much about each other and themselves over the course of Mimi‘s summer visiting her grandparents in Karachi. Alternating POV chapters present each voice convincingly. A sequel would be nice, but not truly necessary. Ready for discussion! #MGBuddyRead @megnews

megnews I just loved it! 2y
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Blackink_WhitePaper
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Pickpick

Book is narrated in the POV of 2 MCs. Mimi who goes to Pakistan during her vacation. Other one is Sakina who is servant in Mimi‘s house. Though both are poles apart they become quick friends and reach out for each other. Political violence, classism, poor health care & educational systems are vividly described throughout the story. Beautiful story about friendship, family & struggles. Looking forward for the discussion #MGbuddyread #bookspinbingo

TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 2y
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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Pickpick

Absolutely delightful. Did she set us up for a sequel? I hope so! Can‘t wait to discuss for #MGBuddyRead

Lmstraubie I'm hoping my loan comes in on time!! 2y
JaclynW I have the book, but haven't started yet. Can't wait! 2y
Daisey Listening today! 2y
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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JaclynW 🤣 2y
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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I started this last night and think I‘m going to love it.

Everyone welcome. If you aren‘t tagged and would like to be, let me know.

Discussion Saturday June 12

#MGBuddyRead

Chrissyreadit 🎉💥 2y
erzascarletbookgasm Please tag me. My library copy just came in 🙂 2y
megnews @erzascarletbookgasm will do! Glad you can join us 2y
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mrp27 Just got my copy in! 2y
BarbaraJean Library copy should arrive soon! 2y
Peddler410 This book is on my list. If I can track down a copy I will participate 😊 2y
Blackink_WhitePaper I just finished this book. Loved it. Looking forward to the discussion. Please include me ... 😊 2y
megnews @Blackink_WhitePaper will do. I‘m halfway through and would already be done if it weren‘t for other things getting in the way of reading. 😂 I‘m loving it too. 2y
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megnews
A Thousand Questions | Saadia Faruqi
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June selections for #MGBuddyRead & #YABuddyRead.

Everyone‘s welcome! Let me know if you plan to join for one or both.

TheBookHippie I‘ve read the YA I have a signed copy!!! But I‘ll join the talk. I‘ll do the MG! Looks good. 2y
Roary47 Most excited for Punching the air, but in for both! 2y
Butterfinger Plan to read and discuss both. 2y
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Chrissyreadit I‘m planning to read them! 2y
Deblovestoread In for both! 2y
OriginalCyn620 Ooh, I own Punching the Air but haven‘t read it yet. Can I join in for that one? 😊 2y
Johanna414 Count me in for Punching the Air! 2y
megnews @OriginalCyn620 absolutely! 2y
JaclynW I'm planning on both!
2y
mrp27 I plan on doing both. I've already read Punching the Air but I still plan to participate in the discussion. 2y
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