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Tanaz Bhathena Books In Order

Publication Order of The Wrath of Ambar Books

Hunted by the Sky (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rising Like a Storm (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Girl Like That (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Beauty of the Moment (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Tanaz Bhathena is a young adult author from Canada. She was born in Mumbai and when she was a year old her parents moved to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. She spent much of her childhood in Jedda and Riyadh until the family moved to Canada when she was a sixteen-year-old. As a child, she loved reading and over time she came to love writing. By the time she turned thirteen, she knew that she wanted a career as a professional author. She wrote her critically acclaimed debut novel “A Girl Like That” in 2018. The novel was named a Best Book of the Year by several publications including “The Times of India,” “The Globe and Mail,” and “Seventeen” among many others. She was nominated for the White Pine Award of the Ontario Library Association for her novel “The Beauty of the Moment” published in 2019. Tanaz is also the author of “Hunted by the Sky,” a fantasy novel that was published in 2020. Her short fiction has also been featured in a variety of publications such as “Room,” “The Hindu,” “Witness,” and “Blackbird.”

Tanaz Bhathena’s young adult novels cover several themes but one theme that was significant in the life of the author was parental expectations. Like many children of Asian descent, she had to deal with fears of failure and monumental expectations that can sometimes result in self-fulfilling prophecies. Bhathena has seen and known many people that have lived up to their parents’ expectations and taken up careers they did not particularly love. While some of these people had been relatively successful, it was not something she wanted to do. When she went to college, she wanted to do something her parents would be proud of and therefore enrolled for a commerce degree hoping to become an accountant. It was only in her fourth year that she began questioning her career choices as she did not particularly love accounting. The recruiters from the accounting firms that had been hiring students from her class were quick to pick up on her disinterest long before her parents did. Given her disinterest, she failed all of her interviews and was finally forced to acknowledge that a career in accounting was not for her and all she wanted to do was become a professional author.

Tanaz was inspired to write her debut novel “A Girl Like That” since growing up as a teenager she never saw herself in all the books she read. It is for this reason that she writes novels featuring teens who are Zoroastrian or/and South Asian. She wanted to write a novel set in Riyadh and Jeddah where she was brought up but outside the gated compounds and royal palaces. Her novel would thus focus on a teenager that was part of the middle-class Indian expatriate community. She did a lot of research on the subject by watching videos and reading books and publications such as “Saudi Gazette” and “Arab News” and articles from organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Zarin the lead character came to her right from the start and she knew she wanted to write about a Zoroastrian Parsi teenage girl. However, she is different from Tanaz in that she is a sarcastic, funny girl with an incredibly strong voice. She still writes about things she has experienced and seen in the world which is what she believes makes her novels so authentic. She also asserts that she had a writing mentor who always asked why she wrote her characters, stories, and settings. This was significant particularly for her characterization and authenticity of her works. As such, she takes the typical character and how they would behave and respond in particular situations and then using the cultural, political and life experiences and then uses these to write their story.

Tanaz Bhathena’s “A Girl Like That” is a fantastic and refreshing contemporary young adult novel set in Saudi Arabia. The lead in the novel is Zarin a controversial teenager with an unassuming appearance. She has lived a hard life as her mother died while she was a child and she had to live with her aunt since her father was a criminal. Her aunt had been negligent and abusive and the only person that would sometimes defend her was her husband. She never felt very safe and longed for her father, which is what may have caused her to seek male company. Being involved with men was dangerous in Saudi Arabia as it could get her in trouble with the moral police. However, she longed for love in her life and tried to fill the emptiness with such relationships. The story focuses on telling the story of Zarin and how her choices led to her death. In other words, it asserts that what happened before her death is more important and comes at this from multiple perspectives including that of the lead character.

Bhathena’s “The Beauty of the Moment” is a beautiful story of Susan a Saudi immigrant. She is the newest girl at a Canadian school having transferred from an elite school in Jeddah where she had lived for most of her life. She looks like a driven and focused girl but her life is a mess. Her parents are about to separate as the father decided to remain in Saudi Arabia, where he is having an affair while her mother is taking out her frustrations on Susan. All Susan wanted to do is refine her talents by going to art school but her parents will have none of it. On the other hand, is Malcolm the bad boy in residence that has just as chaotic life. But his badness is not the romantic type, which would make him a girl magnet. What he has is troubles at home with his father physically abusive at a moment when he is still grieving for his deceased mother. His love life is in a mess too as the ex who used to toy with him for enjoyment now wants him back. The novel is all about coming of age and how maturing changes people and how they navigate relationships. Tanaz also shows the downside and upside of love by showing that while it is most often messy it can also still be beautiful.

Tanaz Bhathena’s “Hunted by the Sky” is the compelling story of a girl named Gul that is tired of running which is something she ha done her whole life. She has a special star-shaped birthmark which makes her a target for disappearance in the kingdom of Ambar, where such people have been going missing for years. Her parents had been murdered by the ruthless soldiers of King Lohar and this had forced her to go on the run for her life. As such, when the Sisters of the Golden Lotus come to her rescue, invite her into their rebel group and train her in the art of magic, the only thing she is interested in is revenge. On the other hand is Cavas, a tenement living man that is on the verge of signing up for the king’s army. His father has been taken ill with a terminal disease and Cavas is ready to do anything to keep him alive. With only a few days before he is to join the army, he decides to go to the capital’s bazaar and it is there that he meets Gul. There is undeniable chemistry between the two and over time he discovers magic and is entangled in the quest for revenge. Cavas and Gul have been brought together by dangerous circumstances and now have to navigate the dangerous world of Ambar Fort, where there are secrets deadlier than what they ever imagined. The novel explores high stakes romance, class struggles and identity in a world inspired by ancient India.

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