It truly takes a village, though some days it felt like a small town.
Eternal thanks to my sister Ruqayyah, who insisted I needed to write this book. I wouldn’t have taken the leap otherwise. Thank you to my mother, who believed from the time I was small that I would one day be published. To my mother again, and my aunt Naima, both of whom spent many hours on the phone with me lending me their knowledge of the Arabic poetry canon and their aid in walking me through the translations present in this book. To my youngest sister, Tasneem, who gave me unending emotional support and belief. And to my nieces, India, Haniyyah, and Hajr, who have been fans since day one.
This book would not have come together if it weren’t for #teamMirage! Endless thank-yous to Annie Stone, who trusted me with this book; Joelle Hobeika and Sara Shandler, who helped ferry it into a complete draft; and Josh Bank, who was always present with a plot solution. Sarah Barley, my dream editor and the best champion an author could ever wish for, I don’t know where this book would be without you. Everyone at Flatiron Books: Patricia Cave, Nancy Trypuc, Molly Fonseca, Jordan Forney, Amy Einhorn, Liz Keenan, Keith Hayes, Erin Fitzsimmons, Bill Elis, Anna Gorovoy, Lena Shekhter, Emily Walters, Lauren Hougen, and Liana Krissoff. Thank you so much for loving Amani and Idris as much as I do; I couldn’t have asked for a better home for Mirage. And of course, team New Leaf: I don’t know where I would be without agent extraordinaire Joanna Volpe and Devin Ross.
There is an endless string of people who kept my head straight during this process. Much love and gratitude to the Snek Pit: Anna Prendella, Ronan Sadler, and Isabel Kaufman, thank you for yelling with me daily. To Karen Chau and Alex Cauley, thank you for griping with me about translation and being awesome. To the Salt Mates, Ashley M. and Catherine B., y’all know what you did. To Amanda Shah and Pauline Heejin Kim, who listened to my fears patiently even when I began to repeat myself. To Nur, your biting sarcasm and mathematic wit powered me through so much of the last year. To all my Demons: Aja, Sassy, Meg, Max, Gray, Zach, Noelle, Annie, Tropie, Rawles, Anna, Lys, Rachna, Nicole, Shruthi, Carrie, Jordan, Zara, Michele, Ari, and Riley, thank you for listening and bearing through my all-caps yelling as I worked through this book.
To Veronica Roth and Courtney Summers I owe a special debt of gratitude. The best N7s a friend could ever ask for, and who bore me through post-drafting and read Mirage hot off the presses. To Sarah Enni, who’s been there from the start: your friendship and support has meant so much. To Tahereh Mafi, whose sage advice has guided me through many a career hurdle. To the Hags: Kody Keplinger, Laurie Devore, Samantha Mabry, Stephanie Kuehn, Stephanie Sinkhorn, Alexis Bass, Debra Driza, Kaitlin Ward, Kara Thomas, Kate Hart, Kristin Halbrook, Lindsey Culli, Amy Lukavics, Maurene Goo, and Michelle Krys, thank you seems like not enough.
And last, but certainly not least, to my dissertation committee: Jesse Oak Taylor, Charles LaPorte, and Juliet Shields. I am eternally indebted to you for your support as I went through exams and drafting, then revising, a novel, and for the intellectual challenges that enriched this book. To Jesse in particular: thank you for saying it’s okay to press pause on one thing so that I might pursue another.