“Hana Khan Carries On” book review

An insightful read successfully capturing the reader’s attention at every turn


Through the lens of a 24-year-old Indian-Canadian Muslim, discover as Hana Khan navigates through hardships, romance, and accomplishing her dreams the halal (permissible) way.

Raiha Khan, Staff Writer

“Hana Khan Carries On” by Uzma Jalaluddin sets up a coming of age rom-com of a young hijabi Muslim encountering struggles and successes establishing both similarities and differences amongst the regular person and the Muslim community therefore resulting in a better understanding of those associated with the faith creating more connections and friendships through community awareness.

“Hana Khan Carries On” is a sparkling romantic comedy about two competing restaurants. It’s funny and heartwarming. A love story that deals with themes of family, politics, podcasts, racism and supporting local businesses..

 Set in Scarborough in Ontario, at the east part of the city amongst an immigrant rich neighborhood, 24-year old Hana Khan encounters everything a normal person would, but with racism on top. The coming of age novel follows a Bub and Pop restaurant which is named “Three Sisters Biryani Poutine.” It’s a signature dish in the book. The family running it goes through financial struggles, the neighborhood has changed, and a new hipster halal place opens up across the street bringing a lot of competition into the neighborhood. The highlight of this book is the community. Sort of like Gilmore Girls, but with more brown people.

As stated by the author, “Food provides inspiration for the writing.” Even ten years back, halal restaurants weren’t prevalent in American/Canadian communities. Dishes like Halal steak had to be cooked from home explaining why “Three Sister Poutine” was a hit when first starting out.

By putting emphasis on food, making it one of the symbols of the book, Jalaluddin did a great job of bringing cultures together. Written in a way explaining how food provided nuance to communities. Food from one’s homeland is like the connection to their family. To their culture. To what makes a person truly and authentically themselves.

Although it’s a romance, the author does not shy away from tough topics like family, love, but also microaggressions and racism, which can be difficult for the reader to get through as it’s a topic that people of color can very well relate to. 

As much as Jalaluddin could have written a hopeful, funny, romantic story, she didn’t shy away from the real issues that someone who was Hana’s age, in her early twenties, would be facing as she is on the brink of graduating school, entering the rest of her adult life, and she faces her harsh reality from the subtle microaggressions at work, all the way to the really obvious hate crime that does take place.

The realistic novel is a great read for all audiences. Not only does it educate people on both the empowerment and harshness encountered with being a Person of Color (POC) and a hijab-wearing muslim, it also teaches a few words that audiences could pick up. It helps the reader to see through the lens of being the first born out of your family in a first world country. It’s relatable in many aspects to those who are in the same situation and gives those who don’t, some insight.

With the novel being 350 pages long, Uzma Jalaluddin’s “Hana Khan Carries On” does a fantastic job of capturing the outlook of the main character in a way that keeps readers hooked and almost feeling everything Hana goes through. Whether it’s Hana’s awkward but cute interactions with her rival from the competing restaurant or the inequality she experienced from surroundings, all situations hit the spot. Really, it radiates positivity because despite encountering all that she’s been through Hana still remains optimistic at every turn.

“Hana Khan Carries On”, the captivating eye-opening cultural rom-com novel earns a 4 and a half out of five chapter books.