The Fall Apart
Seventeen-year-old Afshan has never been comfortable in her skin. She wants to be like the other kids: popular, social, and allowed to hang out with friends on weekends. And it would help if they didn’t bully her mercilessly because her name is hard to pronounce.
Unfortunately, her ultra-religious parents have other plans for her. She must be a good girl, get good grades, and make their dreams come true by marrying into a rich family. Little do they know, Afshan is already damned. A jinn haunts her every night, telling her it will fix her bullying problems, her overbearing parents, and the mundanity of everyday life. That if she lets him possess her, his powers could transfer over to her and she’ll be able to conquer anything.
Harry gives her the gift of telekinesis, but she accidentally blows up half the cafeteria when the bullying goes too far. Her parents tip toe around her, afraid of what Afshan is slowly turning into. She even accompanies Harry on a tour of Hell, although the blood soaked torture houses leave much to be desired. Afshan thought she was having fun subverting her parent’s expectations of her, until her hair starts falling out, she’s haunted by hallucinations while she sleeps and wakes, and more sinister jinns begin to take notice. A new friend comes with new consequences. Harry’s after something more than just friendship; he wants her soul, but her spirit won’t go so easily.
My YA novel, THE FALL APART, is complete at 52,000 words. While writing this manuscript, I was inspired by my own experiences and of the many brown teens I grew up with in a small tight-knit community of Pakistani immigrants. Afshan is an amalgam of what frustrates us brown women the most, the expectations and the need to prove ourselves, not just to our peers, but to ourselves.