An intimate graphic memoir about an American girl growing up with her Egyptian father's new family, forging unexpected bonds and navigating adolescence in an unfamiliar country—from the award-winning author of I Was Their American Dream.
“What a joy it is to read Malaka Gharib’s It Won’t Always Be Like This, to have your heart expertly broken and put back together within the space of a few panels, to have your wonder in the world restored by her electric mind.”—Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
It’s hard enough to figure out boys, beauty, and being cool when you’re young, but even harder when you’re in a country where you don’t understand the language, culture, or social norms.
Nine-year-old Malaka Gharib arrives in Egypt for her annual summer vacation abroad and assumes it'll be just like every other vacation she's spent at her dad's place in Cairo. But her father shares news that changes everything: He has remarried. Over the next fifteen years, as she visits her father's growing family summer after summer, Malaka must reevaluate her place in his life. All that on top of maintaining her coolness!
Malaka doesn't feel like she fits in when she visits her dad--she sticks out in Egypt and doesn't look anything like her fair-haired half siblings. But she adapts. She learns that Nirvana isn't as cool as Nancy Ajram, that there's nothing better than a Fanta and a melon-mint hookah, and that her new stepmother, Hala, isn't so different from Malaka herself.
It Won’t Always Be Like This is a touching time capsule of Gharib’s childhood memories—each summer a fleeting moment in time—and a powerful reflection on identity, relationships, values, family, and what happens when it all collides.
About the Author
Malaka Gharib is a writer, journalist, and cartoonist. She is the author of I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir, winner of an Arab American Book Award and named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews, and the New York Public Library. By day, she works on NPR's science desk, covering the topic of global health and development. Her comics, zines, and writing have been published in NPR, Catapult, The Seventh Wave Magazine, The Nib, The Believer, and The New Yorker. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Darren, and her dog, Sheeboo.
“A delightful account capturing the highs and lows of shifting family dynamics . . . Malaka’s tenderness for her family and Egypt are heartwarming and genuine.”—Diana Abouali, Director, Arab American National Museum
“This is the book that’s been missing from my bookshelf. Gharib’s writing and illustrations made me laugh and cry and transported me back to some of the best days of my life in Egypt. This unforgettable graphic memoir is written from the heart.”—Aya Khalil, author of The Arabic Quilt
“Intimate and wide-open, It Won’t Always Be Like This is a coming-of-age comic imbued with the wisdom of a mature and powerful mind. Gharib is the real deal.”—Kristen Radtke, author of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness
“Malaka Gharib recounts her teenage memories with an open heart and an eye for detail. It Won’t Always Be Like This is her best work yet. I wish everyone could write (and draw) about their lives with this much honesty, specificity, and warmth.”—Adrian Tomine, author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist
“Gharib’s drawings are freehanded and energetic, with brightly detailed marketplaces, beach scenes, and cityscapes, peppered with excerpts from Gharib’s actual adolescent diaries. This work will resonate with any graphic novel memoir fan who felt like a fish out of water growing up, and promises teen crossover appeal.”—Publishers Weekly