Sales are slow at Hana's family halal restaurant in Toronto, where she waitresses part time while nursing dreams of radio stardom. When Hana's secret podcast becomes popular, she bonds with one of her listeners—who turns out to be the owner of a competing halal restaurant that threatens to put her family out of business.
It’s a tall order to find someone worthy of such a brilliant and earnest heroine, but Aydin is an excellent love interest. He’s genuine and charming, a perfect foil for his father’s more hostile business tactics, but the novel is more focused on Hana’s journey than his own. There is a satisfying happily ever after at the end, but Jalaluddin explores more than just romantic love in Hana Khan. It’s a story of self-love, familial love, togetherness and compassion between neighbors, and all the different ways we express love with who we allow into our lives. This modern romantic comedy is full of warmth, and complemented wonderfully by Hana’s courageous self-determination and the scene-stealing secondary members of the Khan family. If Hana Khan Carries On is a sign of things to come, whatever Jalaluddin writes next will be inventive, extraordinary and well worth a read.
Jalaluddin’s second novel isn’t a spin on an Austen novel like her first, Ayesha at Last (2018), but the clever and independent protagonist, large cast of vivid characters, strong family ties, and satisfying enemies-to-lovers trope all have the feel of a classic remake and will thoroughly delight readers looking for modern Indian Muslim representation in a love story that hits real-life issues on the way to a very satisfying conclusion.
Packed with emotion, this romance is also a beautifully written coming-of-age story about a first-generation immigrant. Hana is a relatable, flawed narrator, and the other characters are complex, nuanced, and well-developed. The story is intricately plotted, with dramatic, often heartwrenching scenes that build to a satisfying, realistic conclusion ... Readers won't be able to put this Own Voices Muslim romance down. Highly recommended for most public library collections.