There are few things in the world that go better together than summer and a good book. In June, Jenna Bush Hager has you covered in the reading department.
“My June pick,”These impossible things“by Salma El-Wardany, is the perfect story to get lost in while soaking up the sun,” said Jenna Bush Hager.
The story is about best friends, Melak, Kees and Jenna as they find their way in the world. As they reconcile the cultural norms and societal expectations that come with growing up in strict Muslim homes with their own desires and passions, they turn to each other. When they’re maxed out, when they’re looking for company, and when they just want a laugh, best friends know they’re there for each other.
“Just like in my own life, this book is about three strong women who are the heroines of their own stories,” Jenna said. “This book perfectly portrays the power, vulnerability and solace I have always found in female friendship.”
El-Wardany told TODAY the book was inspired by strong female friendships in his own life.
“As I got older and went through life, I got to a point where I thought maybe my girlfriends are more important than my romantic relationships,” the first novelist said.
Representation was also very important to her when she wrote her first book. After writing her master’s thesis on the representation of Muslims in literature, El-Wardany saw a huge void in the representation of Muslim women on the page.
“I watched myself and all my girlfriends going clubbing and getting drunk and having sex with our boyfriends and partners or whoever we wanted to have sex with and then we went to the mosque and we spent amazing time there and we loved it and never wanted to let go of any part of those aspects of our lives,” El-Wardany said, “It kind of goes back to that old adage that if there’s a story that you want to see that’s not there then you better write it down that’s one of the reasons I wrote it too because I just thought I just want to tell a story story of our lived experience, that doesn’t make us the butt of a joke.”
After just a month with the goal of writing 5,000 words a day during the pandemic, El-Wardany had her novel.
“The whole book just spilled over with me,” she told TODAY.
As readers dive into the novel this summer, Jenna is confident they’ll fall in love with the women at the book’s heart.
“I know readers will fall in love with these dynamic women, just like me,” Jenna said.
El-Wardany hopes it’s a reminder for women about the power of female friendship.
El-Wardany said, “I want women to read this book. And then when they finish it, and close the last page, I want them to call their girlfriends and go out to dinner.”