This comic is rated “T” for “Teen.”

My theory is, while certainly not all teenagers are terrible, or even BAD per se, everyone is the worst version of themselves when they are a teenager. I think Zaynab and Maida both have some stuff to work out, here, before they can become their better selves. We’ve got another ~370 pages to go so we’ll see how far they can get in that time.

Maoism isn’t meant to be a religion, and no one (Toya’s parents, for example) who fills “Maoist” in the government form that demands you declare affiliation to an officially recognized faith group considers it a religion. It is a handy way to fill out a form that won’t let you pick “none of the above.” It’s not the only non-religion available on that form, but it is arguably the most passive-aggressive option.

↓ Transcript
Panel 1: Maida and Zaynab are standing by a window in the dinner hall away from everyone else. Zaynab: "And you kept disappearing off the map! Then reappearing! I was worried sick!"
Panel 2: Maida, looking cross: "Is that how you spent your summer? Stalking me?"
Panel 3: Zaynab: "Usually girls only totally go off the map if they're going to hurt themselves. Or worse!"
Panel 4: Zaynab: "Is that why you're 'anging out wiff those girls? They're as bad as Nat and them, you know. Toya is a Maoist! That's not a real religion. And I'm sure those girls have sex!"
Panel 5: Zaynab, suddenly embarrassed: "I mean... not wiff each other. You know what I mean."
Panel 6: Zaynab: "I mean wiff boys, probably." Maida, throwing her hands up in exasperation: "Ugh! Zaynab! Just stop."
Panel 7: Maida: "I talked to Saranjit after my birthday. Because I can't avoid her. She told me two things."