This is Hend’s first novel (I love writing “first” because I hope she corrals her kids in the hall closet long enough to write another one). Don’t expect me to be objective. It’s not happening.
Normal Calm tells the story of Amina, who is the American child of Egyptian immigrants and a devout Muslim. The story begins as Amina starts college, and follows her as she negotiates the world of work and relationships. In her third year of college, she is raped by a man she considered a close friend, and she has to deal with the ramifications of this for the rest of the book.
Don’t worry, the book is not depressing in the slightest, despite all the BS that Amina has to deal with. Hend and I met at Smith College; it might not surprise you that one of my favorite parts of this book were the strong bonds of friendship between Amina and her buddies.