Incredibly emotional and thought provoking, Here to Stay is a story that will touch your heart from page one.
For most of high school, Bijan Majidi has flown under the radar. He gets good grades, reads comics, hangs out with his best friend, Kenji, and secretly crushes on Elle, one of the most popular girls in his school. When he’s called off the basketball team’s varsity bench and makes the winning basket in a playoff game, everything changes in an instant.
But not everyone is happy that Bijan is the man of the hour: an anonymous cyberbully sends the entire school a picture of Bijan photoshopped to look like a terrorist. His mother is horrified, and the school administration is outraged. They promise to find and punish the culprit.
All Bijan wants is to pretend it never happened and move on, but the incident isn’t so easily erased. Though many of his classmates rally behind Bijan, some don’t want him or his type to be a part of their school. And Bijan’s finding out it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends . . .
Here to Stay hits you from the first paragraphs about how people of color don’t get happy endings in stories like everyone else. I mean, come on. Why do you have to hit my emotions like that from the beginning Farizan? And the rest of the book goes on just like this – being all thought provoking and wonderful. Seriously timely, this book is one I want to share with everyone I know.
I totally get feeling like a ‘token minority’ in school before I even knew what that meant. Here to Stay is one of those books that has so much going on, so much commentary and amazing content that it’s hard to get it all in one read. This is one of those books that would be so amazing re-reading.
In many ways it’s about the single action against Bijan and his own struggles being a good guy, playing basketball, and talking to his crush. But it’s also about actions that have bigger consequences, that act out of fear and ignorance, that mean more than just us. We want to shrink away, to focus on our lives, but we have to realize that it’s bigger than us.
Here to Stay looks at what happens when we let hate or intolerance get the better of us. It’s about more than just a practical joke, but one that picks up on intention and racism.
At the same time, Farizan looks at the intersectional identities of socioeconomic class, race, and more. This book is something that really needs to be on everyone’s radars.
By the end, I was moved to tears. It has these feelings I’ve felt which is when you feel so beaten down by the hatred and cruelty of other people. When this book comes to a peak, the tension is palatable.
Other lovely minor things I enjoyed:
- The sports commentators which pop in throughout the book to comment on Bijan’s life – as if it’s one big basketball game
Here to Stay is a book about perseverance and resilience.
We are here to stay.
It’s a book about friendship in unexpected places and solidarity across borders. It’s an incredibly important book that celebrates our actions when we let justice take over, when we don’t resort to responding to hate with hate, when we just speak our piece and let the cards lay where they lay. Some people don’t change. They can’t change, won’t change, their minds and it’s not that kind of cookie cutter ending. It’s the ending that acknowledges hate exists in the world but you don’t have to fight it with hate.