Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Published March 24th 2015 by Nancy Paulsen Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
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.
This is a book close to my heart, since I have somehow witnessed firsthand how this kind of culture really works. And most of the time, people don’t really have a choice with what their parents say about it. I do understand though that while these kinds of arrangements are common in most conservative societies, not all people have the same view as Naila’s family.
One of the things I like about this book is it gave readers a glimpse into Pakistani cutlure. It was especially interesting reading about Pakistan from Naila’s POV, as it was her first time setting foot in the country.
I glance over at Selma and smile. Getting to know family I’ve never met, exploring a part of the world I’ve never seen – suddenly spending a month in Pakistan doesn’t seem daunting at all.
It starts off as pleasant at first. A family vacation to a country where their parents grew up, meeting relatives they’ve only talked to on the phone or online. Exploring parts of the city and enjoying each other’s company, until it takes a turn for the worse.
This book made me so sad, yet it was a page turner. I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what was gonna happen next. I honestly had no idea how this was going to end, how the conflict could actually be resolved. This book made me feel a lot of thins, from worry to anger to sadness and to being hopeful. This is a beautiful story, as well as an important one. One thing I got after reading this book, was that you really have to fight for love.
“My mother always says when you fight destiny, destiny fights back. Some things, they’re just written in the stars. You can try, but you can never escape what’s meant to be.”
or can you?
I can’t divulge any more details since those are spoilers, but I absolutely recommend this book!