March 2022
“Raw and powerful, this free-verse novel honestly explores issues of identity, culture, grief, and hope. . . . Rich, layered, and heart-rending.
-Kirkus Reviews

"A lyrical novel in verse bearing the weight of childhood cancer and loss, but also with the lift of coming into one’s own as an early teen and finding the right wave to ride.”
-School Library Journal
by Diana Farid, illustrated by Kris Goto
Cameron Kids, March 2022
Middle Grade Historical Fiction
A coming-of-age novel in verse set in 1980s Southern California about a Persian American girl who rides the waves, falls, and finds her way back to the shore.

Thirteen-year-old Ava loves to surf and sing. Singing and reading Rumi's poems settle her mild OCD, and catching waves with her best friend, Phoenix, lets her fit in—her olive skin looks tan, not foreign. But then Ava has to spend the summer before ninth-grade volunteering at the hospital, to follow in her single mother’s footsteps to become a doctor. And when Phoenix’s lymphoma recurs not even surfing, singing, or poetry can keep them afloat, threatening Ava’s hold on the one place and the one person that makes her feel like she belongs. With ocean-like rhythm and lyricism, Wave is about a girl who rides the waves, tumbles, and finds her way back to the shore.

Themes: Coming-of-age, surfing, illness, 1980s America, prejudice, Persian-American experience, poetry
Dear Reader,

When I was thirteen years old, the walls of my Southern California bedroom were decorated with magazine cutouts of surfers riding massive waves. I chased my dream to surf and bought a used sky blue and white surfboard. Even though I didn’t last long as a surfer, my love of the waves, beach, and ideals of surfing endure. 
One day, during a walk along the shore, I started to wonder what the ocean would be like if it had no waves, what the world would be like if all kinds of waves didn’t exist. No surf, sound, music, poetry, light, or love — all of the waves I cherished. Right then, the verse novel Wave was born. In Wave, surfer girl Ava navigates prejudice, anxiety, and loss by finding solace in the ocean. But when she gets stranded out of the water, she discovers other oceans, where waves of poetry and music call her to take the drop — leading to her greatest ride yet. 
Quotes from a translation of Rumi’s poetry I read and loved when I was a university student are scattered through Wave. And the music and culture of my own 1980s childhood take center stage, including songs of The Cure, U2, and Cindi Lauper alongside Persian holidays and cuisine. 
Grab your board. The ride’s about to start!
WAVE Book Club Menu
Wave rides the space between two cultures, Persian and American, as thirteen-year-old Ava, navigates them in a 1980s Southern California beach town. Many scenes speak to the array of foods Ava savors: her favorite beach snacks are celebrated right alongside Persian cuisine.

In Persian culture, cooking is a labor of love and time. Some of my favorite stew and rice dishes are highlighted in Wave: stews, layered with rich herbs and spices, simmer for hours as their flavors marry. Rice dishes are often arranged on large, beautiful platters crowned with colorful patterns made of berries, herbs, or spices. Hot tea, intricate sweets like bāqlavā, and overflowing bowls of fruit finish meals. 

As we follow Ava’s ride, Persian cuisine, Persian-American food mashups, and Southern California beach snacks all flavor the novel's scenes. Early in the story Ava’s family, who immigrated to the United States from Iran, attends to the details of Persian food served at a dinner party—dishes blending richly noted spices, that until recently were difficult to find outside of a Persian-American home. We later find Ava at a traditional Persian holiday picnic where readers will discover traditional Persian picnic food. Toward the end of the book, we circle back to a Persian dinner party, where traditional flavors meld with American Thanksgiving staples.  

Wave offer opportunities to sample new recipes. For a book club dinner menu, some options are:

*Tahdig: if you can only try one dish, I suggest sampling this coveted part of a Persian meal, which can be served with either the Fīsīnjun or Ghormeh Sabzi. It takes practice to perfect, but this crunchy potato/butter/saffron/rice combo is so delicious and satisfying— it’s not only Persia’s answer to french fries, it’s often eyed with envy at the dinner table until the last piece is gone.
*Shirin Polo: a blend of slivered carrots and orange-peel sautéed sweet and folded into long grains of buttery basmati rice.
*Ghormeh Sabzi: a rich stew of greens, dried limes, kidney beans, and tender steak, paired with Polo (white basmati rice speckled with saffron-infused basmati rice).
* Fīsīnjun: Ava’s best friend/her crush’s favorite dish, try this stew of chicken cooked in a creamy blend of ground walnuts and pomegranate syrup, traditionally served with basmati rice.
*Starters: Warmed lavāsh bread, a traditional flatbread perfect for folding other food into, is a lovely and traditional starter, including mint, basil, scallions, tarragon, and feta. A popular side dish or snack, Masto-khiar, thick whole milk yogurt, mixed with cubes of cucumber, salt, and dill, is often paired with bread or rice.
*Tea: Persian tea must accompany the meal, as hot as the person drinking it can handle. Often this is an Earl Grey tea with bergamot.
*Dessert: Try bāqlavā, mentioned in a Wave poem where we learn more about Ava’s mother, Maman. Bāqlavā would pair perfectly with hot tea.
*Snack Time: For a snack time meet-up, try simple beach finds that thread through Wave: 7-Up, blue slushies, and Abba-Zaba—Ava’s regular go-tos at the beach.

I’m thrilled you have a chance to explore and try the flavors of these beautiful dishes.
Enjoy the ride!

Diana Farid