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Publisher's Summary

"A wonderfully complex love story unlike any you’ve read before. Saeed has given a novel that is both entertaining and important.” (Matt de la Peña, New York Times best-selling author)

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.

©2015 Aisha Saeed (P)2019 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

“Readers will be drawn into Naila’s trials and tribulations as she navigates the reality of her new life in Pakistan and explores what inner resources she needs to change her fate.... Sheds light on the difficult phenomenon of forced marriage, still prevalent in many cultures around the world and often shrouded in silence.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Movingly conveys the intense cultural pressure that motivates Naila’s parents and the heartbreaking betrayal Naila feels as she is deprived of her rights, cut off from the outside world, and threatened with shame and death. Saeed includes resources for those who, like Saif’s family, wish to help real-life Nailas, in this wrenching but hopeful story.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Compelling.... This is a cross-cultural eye opener.... Resonates in its explanations of the rituals, especially how they would look and feel from an American point of view. Yet the setting is pure Pakistani, with culturally rich descriptions of Naila’s extended family, their cuisine, and strongly held beliefs.... Evocative.” (School Library Journal)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • enas
  • 06-09-20

I would give it 100

This story was so beautifuly written, while I relate a little to how it feels to have stricked parents theyou would not take away my choice to that extent. I have never been so emotional about a book before. I cried so much and felt physicaly in pain it is unlike anything I have ever tried. I finished it in one sitting.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • AudioBookHoe
  • 08-08-20

Good but sad

So I’ve had the pleasure of reading many stories that feature Pakistani or south Asian descended MCs that are practicing or non-practicing Muslims.

This was certainly one of the more intense stories but I’m glad that I read. I’ve been meaning to read this for years but only recently found out it was in audio.

This is definitely more of the more drastic/untold stories of forced marriages vs arranged marriages. The heroine was American so she had a very different view of how she was going to spend her life than her parents.

It wasn’t as beautifully told as another book I’d read with a similar plot but it was certainly still enjoyable. Since the authors note describes why she decided to tell this story, I have a better understanding why it was a necessary story to tell, but for someone Islamophobic, it may not change their minds.

The heroine has so much hope but it dwindles with each passing day after being moved to Pakistan when her parents find out she’s dating(a no no in Islam). There should be a trigger warning as the heroine gets r*ped though it’s not described in detail, it sucks because he was one of the few characters written with nuance.

It’s a strong 4 and I want to see if this author does more positive light stories with the same theme. It’s a sad story that ultimately has a happy ending but the road paved to it is so hard it’s a good thing this read is less than 7 hours.