“They called them asphalt angels; but they were no angels, only fallen girls who spilt themselves and their desires onto the streets.”

Leila, a teenager, and her older sister Samira live in Helsinki. Their mother is Finnish and has converted to Islam by marrying their father Farid, embracing the new religion with passion. She wears a hijab and lives by accepting bans and reprimand, while raising her daughters in accordance with traditional values. All they want is to live like most young girls in Finland: go out, have boyfriends and belong. But, society as a whole turns its back on them. Racism, sexism and violence engulf their world. When Samira moves out of the house, the situation becomes precarious…

Critics labeled Asphalt Angels as an extraordinary and important book that does not hold back from the most controversial questions and problems of our time. It is a story which draws present societal and cultural conflicts – assimilation of immigrants in countries with developed democracies and growing nationalism and racism. And when worlds collide, young girls are often the first victims.

The author shows young Muslim women as they are growing up and while most vulnerable, torn between different cultures and identities. But she also talks about all young girls who are exposed to mockery from their peers, media dictates and pressures to openly displaying their sexuality. In this poetic and at times dark-humored prose, Holmström guides us into the world of insecurities, hopes and skirmishes, while the question – does every woman, regardless of culture, have a price tag – is self-implied.

„J. Holmström’s prose is impressive, far out and touching all at once, with great dialogues and poetic moments.”

Das Magazin

„Johanna Holmström is one of the young literary stars in Finland.”



Author: Johanna Holmström

Translator: Željka Černok

Buy this book