Book Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Summary: Naila’s conservative immigrant parents allow her to make her own choices, except one. In following with their cultural traditions, they will choose her husband for her. But Naila breaks their rule and falls in love with Saif. And when her parents find out, they take her to Pakistan to remind her of her roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when her parents marry her off. Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is 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.

Thoughts: This book wasn’t what I expected, it was so much better! This is the kind of book you read in one sitting. I thought it’d be a light read about a girl who falls in love with a boy and disapproving parents wanting her to strongly marry someone else, but I didn’t expect her to be actually forced into the marriage. Like forced, forced. Really forced. This wasn’t about an arranged marriage, this was about a forced marriage. I was so shocked and horrified, and it was so heartbreaking having to watch Naila go through this, knowing that this is something that happens in the world. I live in a  culture where arranged marriages are the norm, more or less, but there is always a choice. Otherwise, it’d be illegal. This was different, and you can check out Aisha Saeed’s guest post on YA Highway explaining the differences between Arranged Marriages and Forced Marriages, where she goes into more detail on the differences between the two for those of you interested. The writing was very straight-forward, without any fancy prose, and I liked that it was that way because the focus was on other more important things. I felt like I wanted more from the ending. It all wrapped up very nicely, and maybe that’s part of what made it a 4 star instead of a 5 for me. Nevertheless, the ending was more realistic than the explosive one I had mind. I loved Naila’s hope throughout and her stubbornness to keep trying to escape and not give in to this life that was forced on her. Her struggle to reclaim her own life and make her own choices was hard, and her perseverance really made this book as beautiful and hopeful to read as it was sad and tragic.

Stars: 4/5

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