Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew.
“Love is about the good moments, but it’s about holding on to each other during the difficult ones, too. Coming out on the other side, weathered but still holding hands, isn’t easy. It’s the most difficult thing there can possibly be, but I know now it’s the truest test of love there is.”
While reading I was disgusted by all the horrible things Naila went through and I was angry at the people who made it happen to her this was a hard book to read because being forced into marriage is not an easy topic to address and the way the woman were treated in this and the fact that so many women in the world are treated like this makes me furious. Reading about things that are actually happening in the world is hard and sad but also necessary and this is an important book. This had no YA tropes partly due to the fact that Naila and her boyfriend Saif got together and fell in love before the book started which was nice and this is the only book I’ve read were that has been the case
The writing is simple and honest I was completely immersed in the heartbreaking story. Naila is a wonderful character most of the other characters however all blended together she has a big family and I wish some of them could have been more flushed out even Saif was forgettable. the only character that stood out to me other then Naila was Selma her and Naila’s friendship was wonderful and I love that this passes the bechdel test not enough YA features female friendships. A lot of reviews complained about the ending saying everything ended too easily but it didn’t feel that way to me liked it and I thought that it was a bittersweet ending.
My rating 4 stars