This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?
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. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.
This book left me with rather mixed feelings.
Firstly, I’d like to commend the author for choosing to deal with something that was real, yet difficult to talk about. What Naila had gone through is definitely something difficult and hard to read about, yet something which many girls go through. The author did not shy away from describing the bruralities of a forced marriage. It was well written enough and Naila quite easily became a sympathetic protagonist.
My main problem with the book was something I’ve been feeling about YA in general for some time now. I found the writing and characterization overly simplistic. Also, I found the romance unrealistic.
I wished Naila did not have to rely so much on Saif in the situation. I thought it made it a little unrealistic. Most girls her age don’t have boyfriends who would rise up like knights in shining armor rushing to rescue them. I also wished there was more characterization of some of the other side characters. Selma was one of them. I liked her, but I wished she grew more of a spine.
Overall, it was an interesting read, and I am glad I read it.