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Cover Reveal: FROM HERE by Luma Mufleh

Today we’re revealing the cover for From Here by Luma Mufleh, coming in May, 2023. In her coming-of-age memoir, refugee advocate Luma Mufleh writes of her tumultuous journey to reconcile her identity as a gay Muslim woman and a proud Arab-turned-American refugee.

Preorder your copy here and scroll down to read a sneak peek!

Design by Kristin Boyle

There isn’t a word that means “gay” in Arabic. There were no gay characters on TV, and not in books either. Romeo loved Juliet, Pip loved Estella, Clark Kent loved Lois Lane. It was the 1980s; there was no internet, no Google. How those things would have changed my life. Given me some way to know what I was and that I wasn’t alone. 

Instead, I was like a stone stuck in the middle of a rushing current. All the girls who were once tomboys (the ones good at sports) were growing out of that phase. Boys who were once shy and awkward were asking girls to school dances. This was just the natural way of things: boys like girls, and girls like boys. They grow up and get married and have kids. Life seemed so easy for everyone else. 

My life, meanwhile, seemed to be getting progressively harder from one year to the next, so that when I thought of getting older, of going to college or university, I would feel paralyzed by fear. I could barely handle middle school! When I thought about the future, I would get stuck. I could visualize little things, like moving on to the next grade, winning soccer tournaments, or family cookouts. But there was so much I couldn’t see. I couldn’t see friends that I could truly be myself with, I couldn’t see dancing with someone at a school dance, and I certainly couldn’t see a wedding, which some of the girls already liked to fantasize about. 

I found myself daydreaming about being back on the playground with Justin and looking for bugs or exchanging food with Yuri as we solved our math problems. I remembered longingly the big family dinners of my childhood, when I would run and play all afternoon and evening with my favorite cousins, Omar and Lana. I was beginning to think that the only place I truly fit in was the past. 

Once, my grandmother had explained that our religion doesn’t permit tattoos, because we believe it is wrong to alter the body that Allah has created. He creates each one of us exactly how we are for a reason, she said. But I struggled to understand what reason Allah had in mind when he created me. 

It felt so unfair. I was praying five times almost every day. Sometimes I prayed extra so that Allah might change me. I fasted; I was kind and compassionate; I was a good student and an obedient daughter. But nothing happened. I was still me, and there still was no word for that. 

Penguin Teen