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Queen of the Tiles



by
Hanna Alkaf

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Simon & Schuster
Imprint
Salaam Reads
ISBN
9781534494558
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Language: Infrequent Use , Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes
$22.25   $18.54
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They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen’s Gambit in the world of competitive Scrabble when a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend a year after the fact when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.

CATALYST
13 points
noun: a person or thing that precipitates an event or change

When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

Author’s note.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Language: Infrequent Use , Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

304

Trim Size

8 1/2" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Lexile

HL750L

Genre

Fic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Aug 2022

Book Genres

Detective Story, Thriller

Topics

Scrabble (game). Grief. Friendship. Muslims. Malaysia. Social media. 

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 7-10-After Trina "Queen of the Tiles" Low dies suddenly in the middle of a heated Scrabble championship, her friend Najwa backs away from the Scrabble circuit as she grieves. Fast forward to the same competition a year later in Kuala Lumpur, where she is determined to claim the empty throne in Trina's honor. As the championship weekend kicks off, dark enigmatic messages emerge from the dead girl's Instagram account, implying foul play. Najwa and some of her Scrabble cohorts investigate to bring justice for Trina. Secrets begin unraveling, providing clues and red herrings as to who is responsible for the demise of the former champion. Alkaf's protagonist is Malaysian and a hijabi Muslim woman, like herself. The cast encompasses lesser-represented South Asian characters in YA lit, including Chinese and Indian in a Malaysian setting. Mental health is also explored via therapy, panic attacks, and grief. The author provides content warnings for on-page death; descriptions of anxiety, PTSD, and panic attacks; and discussions of grief and loss. The fast-paced plot will have even the most reluctant of readers turning pages to uncover the culprit. Word nerds will embrace the puzzle references and attempt to solve them. A special treat is each chapter heading, which contains a Scrabble word, numeric value, and a definition that foreshadows the ensuing chapter. VERDICT Genius wordplay, fantastic representation, and a tense whodunit make this one to recommend.-Lisa Krok

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 7-10-After Trina "Queen of the Tiles" Low dies suddenly in the middle of a heated Scrabble championship, her friend Najwa backs away from the Scrabble circuit as she grieves. Fast forward to the same competition a year later in Kuala Lumpur, where she is determined to claim the empty throne in Trina's honor. As the championship weekend kicks off, dark enigmatic messages emerge from the dead girl's Instagram account, implying foul play. Najwa and some of her Scrabble cohorts investigate to bring justice for Trina. Secrets begin unraveling, providing clues and red herrings as to who is responsible for the demise of the former champion. Alkaf's protagonist is Malaysian and a hijabi Muslim woman, like herself. The cast encompasses lesser-represented South Asian characters in YA lit, including Chinese and Indian in a Malaysian setting. Mental health is also explored via therapy, panic attacks, and grief. The author provides content warnings for on-page death; descriptions of anxiety, PTSD, and panic attacks; and discussions of grief and loss. The fast-paced plot will have even the most reluctant of readers turning pages to uncover the culprit. Word nerds will embrace the puzzle references and attempt to solve them. A special treat is each chapter heading, which contains a Scrabble word, numeric value, and a definition that foreshadows the ensuing chapter. VERDICT Genius wordplay, fantastic representation, and a tense whodunit make this one to recommend.-Lisa Krok

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