Genre: YA Contemporary Ownvoices
Word Count: 65,000
Is Your Antagonist hot or cold:
Cold. Not the weather. In fact, I’m sweating under this winter coat. I had to take off my gloves to dry my sweaty palms.The blade, though, is freezing cold. The metal brushing my bare skin sends a shiver down my spine. The cold creeps back in; the adrenaline drains out now that the blood is off the knife, the boy motionless by my feet. His body will freeze come evening when temperature drops back under freezing point. Every stab wound will be as it is, clear for the town to see, to know every one of his kind will be gone.
Investigating a murder behind the police department’s back is hard, especially when your efforts go viral on the internet.
Months after a member of her faith committed a terror attack, sixteen-year-old Nasa Kazmi is still dealing with the fallout in her hometown. Finding death threats in her locker every day is her new normal. So when her twin brother Ragheeb is stabbed to death and his best friend Tres goes missing, Nasa knows it’s a hate crime. The police, however, label both boys terrorists intent on finishing the previous attack.
With the help of her hacker best friend, Nasa investigates her brother’s murder. Step one? Find Tres. Nasa looks to her social media followers for help, but soon her story goes viral. Half the internet, along with her town, believes Ragheeb to have been a terrorist and wants Nasa gone. She is torn between choosing her safety or speaking up about Ragheeb’s innocence. If she can’t find Tres soon, her attempts at proving the police wrong could turn and label her a terrorist, too.
Popsicle stick butterfly knives aren’t in my list of interests anymore, and anything even resembling lethal weapons has never been Ragheeb’s interest. Still, we both own one, from when I made them after the first time Baba showed me how to use it but also told me I was too young to have a real knife.
There never was a time I didn’t adore knives, or anything that Baba taught me as self-defense. Even if there was, it had to be before Pre-K. Before the first time I got pushed off a slide because my classmate’s parents had taught him not to play with kids my kind. Then people came and went in my life making it clearer to me until I started reminding myself how I will always be of a different kind, hated. And that I’ll always need to fight back when I get pushed off.
Ragheeb believes in a whole other philosophy that doesn’t include knives. Or fights. He’s never been the one to be pushed off.
The way he is fiddling with my fake knife makes me feel sorry for him still. He curiously watches how the wooden blade comes out. Maybe he is just wondering how it ends up swinging out right into his wrist.
“Need help?” I say. I know he doesn’t, and his brain is wired to say ‘no’ to me even if he does. It doesn’t matter that he’s only eight minutes older than me; what matters to him is that he’s the older sibling.