The way I felt growing up, which was like an outcast - I was weird, I was a nerd, I read fantasy books - I think a lot of fantasy book readers and a lot of readers and writers in general have that experience of isolation.
I grew up in an isolated town, out in the middle of the Mojave Desert in the middle of a naval base. My family was one of the only South Asian families in this town. We felt it. We knew.
When I asked myself what I'd want to see in a comic about a Pakistani superhero, the first word that came to mind was 'relatable.'
At age 10, or even 15, it would have meant the world to me to see a Pakistani girl portrayed positively, let alone as a comic book superhero.
As a kid living in an isolated desert town, the most diversity I saw in my media was Claudia Kishi, the Japanese American girl from 'The Baby-Sitters Club.'
I felt like an outcast and turned to books, fantasy in particular, to find a place for myself. Reading took me away from this world, which I needed.
Great novels have great characterization no matter what. But multiple points of view let me examine characters from entirely different perspectives, allowing me to learn more about everyone in the process.
Like so many other young South Asians in America, I am the product of two cultures whose conflicting values pull at me with equal urgency. Never have I felt as torn between the two as I do about the question of marriage.
My dad was very strict. He was absolutely the Tiger Dad. You know, 'You got a 98% on this test? Why didn't you get 100?' That was normal life for my brothers and I.
'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' is one of my all-time top YA fantasy trilogies, so I was a little nervous about reading 'Strange the Dreamer.' Of course, I shouldn't have been worried because Laini Taylor immediately grabbed me by the proverbial lapels and refused to let me go.
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