Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication date: March 24, 2015
Pages: 277 pages
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.
You can choose what you want to do when you grow up, the types of shoes you want to buy, how long you want your hair to be. But your husband, that’s different. We choose your husband for you. You understand that, right?
Disclaimer: My opinions are only based on the book and not on the culture.
First things first, I read this book out of curiosity. It was introduced to me by one of my friends who is also interested in the Muslim’s culture of marriage so we decided to read it. She ordered a hardbound copy and I bought it on ebook format.
The story follows a Pakistani girl named Naila. She was raised in Florida and all her life she has been very obedient to her parents. Naila’s parents were the traditional kind. Their beliefs were never change when they went to Florida, they still go to get togethers every week with their fellow Pakistani brothers and sisters and they still also believed in arranged marriages. Through-out her life, Naila was given some freedom since she could choose what she wants to be, what shoes she’ll wear, or what kind of hairstyle she liked. But when it comes to a husband, her parents are the ones whose going to choose for her. That’s when the book gets complicated. Naila didn’t want her parents to choose a husband for her.
Naila had a boyfriend. I know that was not allowed in the Muslim culture because they are following a tradition. But, that didn’t stop Naila. Her boyfriend, Saif, was very understanding in their situation. Although, Saif was a Pakistani too. But because of a family problem they were looked down by the other families.
Naila’s parents eventually found out about them and that made them the decision to go back to Pakistan for a so called vacation. It was fine at first since it felt like a real vacation but it got weird when her mother kept on having visitors and they were asking her a lot of things from knowing how to sew to cooking rice. She thought she was just being asked polite questions little she know she was being questioned by her potential family.
There were a lot of hardship Naila endure in the book. From the different abuse of her family and the abuse she went through with her husband was an eye opener for me. We all know that somehow this was happening in their culture but I didn’t think that it will be that harsh. Naila was lucky and I’m so happy that Saif never gave up on her.
The book was really interesting but like all books there were a some minor flaws. I wish that the ending could have been longer. I wanted to know if Naila will have closure with her parents. But, nonetheless, the book was good. I rated it a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.
I bought myself a physical copy of this book so I could give it to my sister when she grows up. This book is very close to my heart because my half-sister is a Muslim.
Thank you for reading up until here! Until then, cheers!