Book Talk: March


Lori Goldstein, author of Becoming Jinn. Taken from Lord Goldstein Books official website.



Author: Lori Goldstein

Category/Genre: YA Fantasy

Release Date: April 21st, 2015


Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters,” Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.




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My Review:

It isn’t often that I can vouch for an author as much as their book. But I was luckily enough to get to know Lori Goldstein when she mentored me in a pitch contest, working for a few months to help me rewrite and revise a manuscript of my own. From that experience, I was able to learn that not only did Goldstein have a great eye for language and plot development, but that she was a generally awesome person.

Fortunately for the YA fans here, her debut novel, Becoming Jinn, does not disappoint.

If you are searching for a unique and delicious YA novel that will have you neglecting little aspects of your life because you just need to read that next page, then look no further. Becoming Jinn has a fantastical situation with realistic characters and a contemporary setting. It is a nonstop ride with everything from moments that will make you laugh out loud in a quiet, public area to moments that will have your heart melting (or something equally swoon-y). I could not put down Becoming Jinn, and even though I know the book didn’t even release yet, I can’t help but really, really, really want the second book.

From the very first chapter, I found that I was able to connect to Azra and really get into her head. Aside from being smart and funny, she felt like a person. An actual teenager. That voice made it so much easier to stay in the world of the novel. As the novel progressed, I found that all of her actions and decisions were realistic and understandable for her character. Without it being forced onto me, I was really able to root for Azra throughout the story.

If there is anything better about Becoming Jinn than Azra’s character, it is the relationship she has with other characters. I loved the friendship and sisterhood that went along with her Zar, especially because it wasn’t perfect. Azra, at times, felt like an outsider, even in a place where she really is supposed to belong (and does, even if it is harder to see) and that’s something most everyone can relate to.

The relationships between the “sisters” were dynamic, as every character had their unique personality, and a different relationship with everyone else. It wasn’t all bright and sunny, and to me, that made it all the more believable.

I like to tell myself that I’m sick of love triangles (V’s) in YA, and then I continuously find ones that are done beautifully and can’t get enough of it. The love triangle in Becoming Jinn was definitely one of those cases. It was difficult, because I liked both options. But I definitely feel that one of the two characters was all the more better, and am one hundred percent on that team. I’m not going to say who it is, but… cough-I-love-the-whole-“boy-next-door”-trope-oh-so-much-cough.

Not only are the characters amazing and the writing breathtaking, but the concept is incredibly cool. And the plot doesn’t disappoint. I loved the Jinn and learning about their history and origin (man, do I adore a good back story!). Everything about the rules of wish-granting and the Afrit made it feel all the more real, and added a whole lot of stakes that kept the pages turning.

Becoming Jinn is a hilarious, heart-wrenching, striking start to a promising series. It’s difficult to say anything negative about it at all, other than how it might keep you up way later than you wanted on a work/school night.  It’s a definite must-read that will have readers wishing for more.