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Publisher's Summary

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Marie Claire, Bustle, Real Simple, and Literary Hub

A Palestinian American woman wrestles with faith, loss, and identity before coming face-to-face with a school shooter in this searing debut.

A uniquely American story told in powerful, evocative prose, The Beauty of Your Face navigates a country growing ever more divided. Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter - radicalized by the online alt-right - attacks the school.

As Afaf listens to his terrifying progress, we are swept back through her memories: the bigotry she faced as a child, her mother's dreams of returning to Palestine, and the devastating disappearance of her older sister that tore her family apart. Still, there is the sweetness of the music from her father's oud, and the hope and community Afaf finally finds in Islam.

The Beauty of Your Face is a profound and poignant exploration of one woman's life in a nation at odds with its ideals, an emotionally rich novel that encourages us to reflect on our shared humanity. If others take the time to really see us, to look into our face, they will find something indelibly familiar, something achingly beautiful gazing back.

©2020 Sahar Mustafah (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Beauty of Your Face

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

A mostly satisfying tale of faith, tragedy and family

I was lucky in that I came into this novel not knowing much about it other than it was a story about a Palestinian-American family (told mostly from the perspective of one of the daughters), and that there was a school shooting. I’m glad that I hadn’t read many reviews before listening, as many of them give away some major plot points that the writer gracefully builds toward.

However, I couldn’t help but feel that had I read those reviews beforehand, I may have been disappointed overall in the story. Mustafah is an excellent storyteller, but the strength of the writing itself doesn’t save what is sometimes a predictable and trite plot.

That aside, I still found myself highly engrossed by the story of Afaf and her family as they navigate pre- and post-9/11 America. Afaf is an excellent narrator and I became invested in her journey. While I had issues with how she eventually comes to rediscover her Muslim faith (that is, like most of her catharses, it comes about because of or out of duty to the men in her life), her experience is one that is relatable no matter the reader’s religion.

Both narrators of the audiobook did an excellent job (one for Afaf’s story, the other for the chapters about the school shooter), and I think this is an excellent choice for an Audible download. It’s one of the better narrations I’ve heard in a while and would seek out other books narrated by Lameece Isaaq.

Predictability and problema aside, this is an extremely impressive and assured sophomore novel from Mustafah, and I look forward to reading her next one.

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Take a chance on something different !

I really enjoyed this book. It is out of my usual genre so I wasn’t sure ... it was so worth it. The way the story is told is captivating. It takes you on a journey and you begin to really care for Afaf. This is definitely not a typical school shooter story and the way the story flips back and forth from past to present revealing more and more about the characters... it just pulls you in. Great book from start to finish!

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Captivating from the very beginning

I love a book that can transport you and make you feel as if you’re there . The Beauty Of Your Face did this for me , the very first chapter pulled me in and after that I couldn’t stop listening, Which is why I finished this book in less than 24 hours.