The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali (DNF)

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.
But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. 
Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

About the book:

Title: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali

Author: Sabina Khan

Pages: 336

Published: January 29th 2019 by Scholastic Press

My Thoughts

Me while reading this book!

You know what I so desperately need? A book with a brown Muslim gay main character, born to dyed in the wool conservative, homophobic parents. And I want it to have the happiest ending! BUT sans boredom!

I had expected this book to give me that. Even though this book had all I had wanted to read–and I was super excited to read it– it was pretty very boring!

Rukhsana, a brown, Muslim girl, who’s born in the USA to conservative Bangladeshi parents, falls in love with Ariana, a white girl. When Rukhsana’s mother finds them kissing, she sends Rukhsana to Bangladesh and forces her to marry a boy from their own community.

I liked certain aspects of this book. It touches upon really heavy subjects and I appreciate the author for that. As a South Asian, I found myself represented in the book. My favorite part was food! I loved reading about Bangladeshi cuisines, and I was not surprised to realize that I have actually eaten a lot of Bangladeshi dishes and snacks. I’m craving phoochkas right now. Let’s move on!

I could relate a lot to Rukhsana too and I know how close-minded some parents ( and society) can get, when it’s about their kids’ freedom and their sexuality. I am friends with girls who are married to guys who they don’t like. I have seen my gay friends afraid to come out to their parents, because they know that they won’t be accepted. Also, I know girls who still fight for their education. And this book talks about them, and I love the author for that!

But, I think I’m on a book DNF-ing spree these days.

Anyway, let’s talk about my reasons for not finishing this book! Did I tell you already how bored I was while reading it? Okay!

  1. I didn’t ship Rukhsana and Ariana at all. I liked Rukhsana, but I didn’t like her relationship with Ariana. I wanted romance, which was mostly absent. I wanted a real, likable relationship. Also, Ariana didn’t really feel like a real character at all.
  2. There were super long descriptions of making chai in every chapter. Okay, I know it’s… stupid and I have only read,like, 40% of this book, but this is one of the things that irritated the hell outta me. I know we all love chai, but Rukhsana made chai a million times in every fuckin’ chapter!
  3. There are pesky, close-minded secondary characters too who never failed to get on my nerves. The most irritating character was Aunty Meena and the worst part was she was there in almost every chapter.
  4. I wasn’t a big fan of the writing. Also, there were some pointless chapters/scenes with the only purpose of making the book long!
  5. Did I tell you I was BORED? I was yawning shamelessly while reading it!

My Rating: ⭐

I wanted this book to be interesting and awesome. I had expected so much from it but I couldn’t like it at all.

Did you guys read this book? What did you think of it? Share your thoughts with me.

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