There’s always a lurch of excitement when a new book arrives in the post, all shiny, with your name on the cover.
‘My Sister’s Perfect Husband’ is part of the new series by Ransom Publishing called ‘Promises’ aimed at reluctant teen readers. The brief was to write a short story (around 3,000 words) on a subject which would engage teenagers but in language which they would find accessible.
I’ve written stories about young British Muslims in the past (‘Mixing It’ and ‘Payback’) and when I suggested writing about a Pashtun family living in Britain and trying to marry off their daughter Mina, the publishers were enthusiastic.
‘My Sister’s Perfect Husband’ is very light hearted. Mina’s parents have completely failed to find her a suitable husband, so her younger sister, Laila, decides to try. She and her best friend hatch a complicated and secret plot to bring Mina together with a boy they think would be ideal.
But their brilliant plan goes drastically wrong and the ending is VERY unexpected!
‘Promises’ is a series with an imaginative and varied collection of stories. Like me, most of the authors are used to writing much longer and more complex books for young people – authors such as Jo Cotterill, Miriam Halahmy, Kathryn White, Anne Rooney and Sue Purkiss – but they took up the challenge and the results are brilliant.
Here’s what Sue Purkiss says about the term reluctant readers.
‘I think ‘reluctant’ is actually a bit of a misnomer; they’re only reluctant because they find reading so hard – and so then they pretend to scorn it, because that’s what you do, isn’t it? If there’s a club you can’t join, you shrug your shoulders and say that you never wanted to belong to it anyway.’
Hopefully, these ‘reluctant’ readers will discover, through these stories, that books aren’t always daunting. They can even be fun!