This lyrical coming-of-age novel for fans of Darius the Great Is Not Okay and On the Come Up, set in southern California in 1996, follows a teen who wants to honor her deceased friend’s legacy by entering a rap contest.
Perfect Iranian girls are straight A students, always polite, and grow up to marry respectable Iranian boys. But it’s the San Fernando Valley in 1996, and Rana Joon is far from perfect—she smokes weed and loves Tupac, and she has a secret: she likes girls.
As if that weren’t enough, her best friend, Louie—the one who knew her secret and encouraged her to live in the moment—died almost a year ago, and she’s still having trouble processing her grief. To honor him, Rana enters the rap battle he dreamed of competing in, even though she’s terrified of public speaking.
But the clock is ticking. With the battle getting closer every day, she can’t decide whether to use one of Louie’s pieces or her own poetry, her family is coming apart, and she might even be falling in love. To get herself to the stage and fulfill her promise before her senior year ends, Rana will have to learn to speak her truth and live in the one and only now.
About the Author
Shideh Etaat is an Iranian American writer living in Los Angeles. She received her MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. Her work has been published in Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers, Day One, Foglifter, Nowruz Journal, and My Shadow Is My Skin: Voices from the Iranian Diaspora. Shideh is also the author of Rana Joon and the One and Only Now. When she isn’t busy writing, you can find her helping her four-year-old son navigate life.