Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

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Goodreads | Blackwells

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 was one of the books I’ve had on my TBR for the longest, and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. For a while, I’ve had it in the back of my mind that this was a fantasy book, but it was actually a contemporary. Once I realised this, I absolutely stormed through this book and read it in a day. I just couldn’t put it down and needed to know what was going to happen to Naila.

This book certainly wasn’t a light one – Naila goes through a lot throughout this story and parts of it were utterly heartbreaking and left me horrified. But this was also such an important story as it shows something people go through in real life, which made it all the more horrific but also crucial to read.

My mother always says when you fight destiny, destiny fights back. Some things, they’re just written in the stars.

I really sympathised with Naila as a main character but I didn’t quite feel as connected to the characters as much as I wanted to. I think mainly because this book is quite short and feels full of action, leaving not much room for character development. As much as I did feel sympathetic for what Naila was going through, I never felt as emotional as I expected or wanted to.

The plot was very fast paced and I honestly didn’t want to put this book down (which is why I read it in a day!). I felt so sucked into this story and I am still thinking about it over a week later. I did find some of the plot points quite predictable and I didn’t find any of it surprising, but I did still enjoy the journey.

You can try but you can never escape what’s meant to be.

Although I did feel like this book was a narrow (and quite negative) look at Islam and Pakistani culture, as the author pointed out in the Author’s Note, this is unfortunately something that happens to a very small amount of people across race, culture and religions. I was so glad to have such an insight into Naila’s story and even though this book was hard hitting, it felt like a very important read and I really enjoyed it.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #13

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi all! This week I decided to spend a voucher I had on some books I’ve had my eye on recently, and just treat myshelf!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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.

I’ve been wanting to read more of Aisha Saeed’s work after loving Yes No Maybe So, and I’m super excited for this one.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

This was really just self-indulgence, as I’ve seen it be talked about everywhere since it’s release!

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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