Mom has said that I could lose a few. I’ve never thought it was possible. My first diet was five years ago, when I was ten.  I daintily ate crackers and cheese with a glass of juice for every meal, so proud of myself that I ate so little by the end of each day. Then it became too hard and I ate like a pig again. I tried to cut out carbs last year, but rice and bread were too yummy to give up. I don’t want to eat a burger without a sesame-seed bun. No way. And life without pizza. Is that even possible?  Might as well ask me to cut off a limb.

I don’t like what I see in the mirror. My hair is frizzy from the Florida heat. My shirt is baggy to hide my potbelly, which grows after large meals. I was minding my own business at the mall one day, waiting in a long line to buy some jeans, and an older woman asked me if I was pregnant. Gasp. At fifteen?  And do I really look that fat and bloated?  On a bad day, on a high-carb day, maybe I do look like I’m carrying a bun or two in the oven. I’m not overweight, just at the high end of normal on the height/weight chart. Sometimes I console myself that it’s called big-boned, not fat.

Excerpt© 2011 Medeia Sharif

About the book:

In BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. fifteen-year-old Almira Abdul fasts for Ramadan. The holy month does not move smoothly at all when she experiences her first major crush. Her best friend Lisa and the catty new girl Shakira are also infatuated with Peter. If Almira pursues him, not only will she be in a bind with these two girls, but she’ll also go against the grain of her strict Muslim family.

What people are saying:

“A humorous, hip look at the ups and downs of fasting for Ramadan within the context of intergenerational and cultural challenges.”—KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Medeia Sharif’s sparkling debut YA novel BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. features the feisty, witty yet vulnerable Almira, who struggles with both self-esteem issues and a seemingly unrequited crush on a hipster artist. BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. deftly combines humor and poignancy with an authentic teen voice set against the multicultural background of vibrant Miami and Almira’s loving yet-strict Muslim family. The book’s universal themes will resonate with all teens balancing family ties with coming-of-age conflicts.”—Paula Yoo, author of SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY, GOOD ENOUGH, and SIXTEEN YEARS IN SIXTEEN SECONDS

“I laughed out loud as Almira struggled to fit in with her traditional family as well as the rest of the world.”—Sydney Salter, author of SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK, JUNGLE CROSSING, and MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS

“I love Almira Abdul—the honest, tell-it-like-it is, funny, and very real main character of Medeia Sharif’s wonderful, eye-opening debut, Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. Here’s a great, new voice in teen fiction.”—Melissa Senate, author of THE MOSTS and THEODORA TWIST

Releases: July 8, 2011

About the author:

Medeia Sharif is a Kurdish-American author who was born in New York City, and she presently calls Miami Beach her home. She received her master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Not only does she write, but she’s also a high school English teacher. BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. is her first novel. You can visit her at www.sharifwrites.com.