Summary: Bhai for Now
In Bhai for Now, two boys’ lives collide when they discover that they look exactly alike. Ashar is an ice hockey player who lives with his mom and is fairly popular at school. His goal is to get into the best high school by his ice hockey skills. He also has a cousin, who’s currently mad at him for reasons he doesn’t know. Shaheer has just moved to town with his dad for the umpteenth time and has given up on the idea of finding a forever home when the kids at school start calling him by Ashar’s name. The boys quickly find out that they’re twins and start switching places to get to know their parents better and convince them to keep the boys together. Will their plan succeed?
I listened to this one on audio, and I really enjoyed it. Both boys have distinct personalities and the story is told from both their perspectives (but in the third person). The backstory was believable and I could see how their parents would totally miss them switching back and forth. The Parent Trap element was very much present, although there were differences for sure.
Ashar and Shaheer relationship doesn’t automatically click into place, which is realistic, considering how different their personalities are. But I did enjoy seeing them find camaraderie with each other’s sides of the family–Shaheer bonding with his mom and cousin and Ashar with his dad and grandfather. There is some mention of ice hockey throughout the story, but I didn’t find the sport scenes particularly appealing.
This book really shows how hurtful parental squabbling and non-amicable separations can be. There’s a particularly vicious arguing scene where both parents really go at each other. Both boys are also Muslim although one is more religious than the other.
Overall: Bhai for Now
Bhai for Now is a fun, spirited middle grade book about twins, parental separation, and building a strong brother-brother relationship. This Parent Trap inspired middle grade is perfect for tweens looking for books with Muslim protagonists and books starring tween boys.
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