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Ratings and Book Reviews (1 8 star ratings
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4.8 out of 5
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    A story I didn't know I needed

    This story was always going to be intensely close to my heart, because it talks about a queer, desi girl. It fulfills and surpasses every expectation in how very genuine it is. It perfectly captures the desi experience and the culture we are brought up in. It is so rare to see this kind of representation of LGBTQ+ characters who are very rooted in and are proud of their culture; which made me enormously happy. Nishat is also Muslim; which is, again, very rarely seen in media. This entire combination seems so niche but immensely accurately represented; which is what you get when you allow POC authors to write their own stories. It is hard for me to explain how amazing I find all of this; because for someone who has been chasing representation in popular media for ages, it all feels like a dream. There are so many things that I absolutely adored in this book. Nishat’s relationship with her sister—Preeti, her love for henna and the reason behind it, the quintessential high school experience but from the eyes of a child of immigrants, and the confusion of figuring out your own feelings and deciphering others’. It is an amalgam of extremely relatable things that flow beautifully creating this intricate and, yet, simple story. The way every character acts and reacts is so true to themselves. There is not a moment or interaction that feels forced or has a sliver of pretence. As much as I love this book, there are moments that I do not fully believe in because they do not seem sincere. One of these is the past that Nishat and Flávia share, which is a precursor for their relationship in this book and it sometimes comes across as a thin plot. I also would have liked to see more of the reasons behind Nishat and Flávia’s attraction to each other. Since, the book only shows us Nishat’s POV it makes sense that we will not get an accurate sense of what other characters are thinking or feeling; but I would have liked some in-depth look into the bevy of characters that surround Nishat. Along with its painfully, sometimes, accurate portrayal of a South Asian character, I adored this book for its take on cultural appropriation. It shows how agonizing it is for people whose culture is being appropriated because of its history and various connotations. It also talks about the hypocrisy that comes with it. People conveniently pick and choose what parts of a culture they like; and claim it as their own gimmick, while derogating other parts of that same culture. I found this book riveting and a fresh gust of sweet wind that caressed my face and made me feel at home. I wait eagerly for the next story that the author will bring to us, hoping for it be about another desi queer teen looking for acceptance but not asking for it.
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