Book Review: The Loophole by Naz Kutub
A gay Muslim boy travels the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes in this YA debut that’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda with a twist of magic.
Sy placed all his bets for happiness on his boyfriend, Farouk . . . who then left him to try and “fix the world.” Now, the timid seventeen-year-old Indian Muslim boy is stuck in a dead-end coffee shop job and all he can do is wish for one more chance . . .
Sy never expects his wish to be granted. But when a mysterious girl offers him three wishes in exchange for his help and proves she can grant at least one wish with an instant million-dollar deposit into Sy’s struggling bank account, a whole new world of possibility opens up. Is she magic? Or just rich? And can Sy find the courage to leave Los Angeles and cross the Atlantic Ocean to lands he’d never even dreamed he could visit, all to track down his missing ex? With help from his potentially otherworldly new friend, will Sy go all the way for one last, desperate chance at rebuilding his life and refinding love?
Your wish is granted! Naz Kutub’s debut weaves an engrossing whirlwind of an adventure with a journey to find love, home, and family.
I can’t tell you how many books I’ve picked up, started, and abandoned lately. Partially that’s because of how many books appear at my house—I know I can’t read them all, but I want to flip through them to decide what I do want to read. Some I start and then decide they’re not for me. Or a library hold comes in and I switch over, never to go back. Or whatever. But this book I started, read while holding my insufferable chiweenie (insufferable because he digs at me while I read because that’s time I should be gazing lovingly at him), read while one arm went numb from said chiweenie, read until I was done. Sy was on a wild journey—both literal and metaphorical—and I needed to see what happened.
Sayyed is in a position he never expected to be in. The same day his father kicks him out of the house for being gay, he encounters a mysterious girl, Reggie, who says she can grant him three wishes. When the first wish—a million dollars—comes true, he has no choice but to believe her. Together, they set off around the world to try to find Farouk, Sayyed’s ex-boyfriend, who moved to London and then went missing. Their travels to London, Istanbul, Marrakesh, and other places present more questions than answers about Farouk. They also give Sayyed plenty of time to think about what he’s doing, what he wants, what it means to be kicked out by his father, and where this new, strange girl fits in all of this. The closer Sayyed gets to Farouk, the more he is forced to ruminate on both losing oneself and finding one’s way.
The story toggles between the current moment (their journey to find Farouk), snapshots from the past when Farouk and Sayyed were dating, and a heroic quest story, “Hamza and the Djinn.” Reggie , in particular, brings a whole lot of Francesca Lia Block flavor to the story—she’s strange and magical and has an unusual way of stringing together sentences (unusual as in silly, offbeat, witty, and memorable). Part travel adventure, part magical mystery, and part personal quest for identity and direction, this was a joy to read.
Review copy (finished hardcover) courtesy of the publisher
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 06/21/2022
Age Range: 13+ Years
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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