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text 2017-07-19 21:31
Booktube-A-Ton TBR
The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh
Anna and the French Kiss (Anna & the French Kiss 1) by Stephanie Perkins (2014) Paperback - Stephanie Perkins
Saga, Volume 6 - Brian K. Vaughan,Fiona Staples
Written in the Stars - Aisha Saeed

If you don't know, Booktube-A-Thon takes place from Monday 24th till Sunday 30th. You can check the Youtube channel for any information. Just know that you do not need to be a youtuber to participate.

 

I really love this readathon and I love readathon in particular, so I decided to join!

 

Here are the challenges as well as the books I chose to read to complete those:

 

#1 – Read a book with a person on the cover: The Wrath and the Dawn (430p) 

#2 – Read a hyped book: Anna and The French Kiss (384p) 

#3 – Finish a book in one day: Saga vol 6 (152p) 

#4 – Read about a character that is different from you: Written in the stars (304p)/ Les âmes grises (280p) 

#5 – Finish a book completely outdoors: Saga vol 6 (152p)/ Three Dark Crowns 

#6 – Read a book you bought because of the cover: Written in the stars (304p) 

#7 – Finish 7 books: Journal d'hirondelle

 

The books not in italic are the optional one. I'm almost sure I won't have time to read 7 books, so I chose books that fit multiple challenges, then add one when required to complete all the chalenges, we will see how it goes!

 

Are you participating in Booktube-A-Thon? 

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Line.

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review 2017-06-15 20:37
Written in the Stars
Written in the Stars - Aisha Saeed

This is my Letter W for the Litsy A to Z challenge this year. I picked it because of that cover. Isn't it gorgeous?

This is also one of those books that I had read the synopsis for when I first chose it and just trusted my earlier judgement, having put it on a challenge list and all. Then I promptly forgot what it was actually about, which is always fun for me because I know its about something I'm interested in but still get to be surprised.

Let me say that I enjoyed a lot about this book but it was greatly helped by the fact that I had finished Dear Zari directly before it which provided me with great information on the realities of life for Afghan women. Though our protagonist in this book is Pakistani-American, the understanding of cultural traditions is similar enough to be helpful in this book and not see that none of the characters who live in Pakistan are behaving unusually, nor are they written in a way to be seen as villainous. They are doing what they know to do for the situation they are in.

Naila, our protagonist, is born and raised in American and her parents try to hold her the cultural expectations of their extended family back in Pakistan. They want her to be a good Pakistani girl and she can't begin to comprehend what is wrong with being a good American girl instead. Her general attitude about these traditions while in the US reminded me a little of Ms. Marvel too. When her world turns upside down in Pakistan, the story really turns.

I spent the rest of the book unsure of which direction the resolution to Naila's issue the author was gonna go until close to the end. I felt pretty sure that a happy end was coming though. 

Overall, I really enjoyed it. Its a great YA that fits in a rather underrepresented demographic, those teens whose lives fall somewhere between the US and the Middle East. It also falls solidly into chick lit, in my opinion, which is part of the fun here. The characters aren't exactly well rounded, but I don't think that was the point anyway. Its enough that they are entirely different manifestations of familiar archetypes in YA or chick lit. It made them a little unpredictable for me, which is always fun. I think anyone who reads either of those genres would enjoy this.

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text 2017-01-17 05:27
Reading progress update: I've read 54%.
Written in the Stars - Aisha Saeed

This book is stressing me out I'M SO WORRIED ABOUT NAILA

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review 2016-09-21 00:31
Whoa.
Written in the Stars - Aisha Saeed

It seemed like time to switch up my usual reading. YA is not my thing but I had heard good things about this book and it actually sounded like experiences of people I've known. Since I *finally* watched the last 'Hunger Games' films I guess I was in the mood for YA.

 

Naila is a young woman about to graduate from high school and go to college. She's like any other senior, ready to graduate and preparing for new life. A bit of a twist happens: she has a boyfriend, which is a strict no-no with her family. She's supposed to go to school and eventually get married. Her parents have decided this. Unfortunately plans go awry when her parents catch Naila with her boyfriend, Saif.

 

All seems like things will still be okay until her parents announce that they are going to go to Pakistan the day she's supposed to graduate from high school. At first it seems like it will be no big deal. Naila is told that the family will be back before she will have her college orientation. In Pakistan she visits/receives guests of her parents, meets extended family, and basically does not realize her parents are about to entrap her in an arranged marriage with no way out. I had a Pakistani friend who was in a *very* similar situation and from what she told me Saeed's portrayal was really not far off the mark at all.

 

I don't want to be any more spoiler-y but I will say that this ended up being much darker and more intense than I expected (in a good way, though). From what I know Naila's experience with a forced arranged marriage is sadly very true to life. However, without being too spoiler-y I'm glad author Saeed gave Naila a happy ending in the end.

 

That said, it's not perfect. The book is VERY readable and actually had me on the edge of my seat. But some of that makes me a bit hesitant on some things. Naila seems extremely naive. She has the ability to sneak around with her boyfriend and can pull off some degree of subterfuge. Did she not have any clue that her parents could forcibly arrange her marriage? Her parents also seemed very two-dimensional but at the same time some of what they said rang true to life. However, I really felt Naila should have known something was up when her parents blamed themselves for how she turned out (sneaking around with a boy). No alarm bells that they'd try to control the situation by marrying her off?

 

Like others have said, the ending seemed too neat and tidy. There are many moving pieces to arrange the resolution and MANY sides to this. While I'm happy how it ended, I also felt it was quite abrupt and just too "clean". I would have also liked a bit more of the other side and how Saif knew where to find her.

 

But overall I was pleased about the book itself. I've thought I'm just not into YA at all and was thrilled to be proven wrong. I was also VERY happy to read that this was not based on Saeed's personal experience (her author's note and bio on the flap says she had a semi-arranged marriage that has turned out to be very happy but acknowledges that unfortunately there are many stories like Naila's).

 

It's worth noting that due to the subject matter some of the material might be a bit dark. Kidnapping, forced arranged marriage, marital rape, domestic violence, etc. are all topics. Thankfully the rape and violence are not that graphic but they are there and they are part of the story.

 

Would still recommend reading it and would recommend taking a look at the resources too. Unfortunately Naila's story still happens and we need books like this. I bought this as a bargain book but would not be a bad book for a YA fan or someone who wants to read more about arranged marriages. I look forward to Saeed's next book.

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review 2016-03-19 18:50
It made me hungry
Written in the Stars - Aisha Saeed

Written in the Stars is the kind of book that I should have loved but I didn't. Diversity? Check. Forbidden romance? Check. A female lead you want to root for? Check. So why didn’t I love it? For starters, it is written in a very simplistic middle grade style which is odd given the age of the characters and the things happening.

 

I also think the book is a lot more rushed than it should be. It takes a lot of time to build to the climax but not enough time is spent providing readers with a detailed resolution. We find out what happens in the epilogue but given the risk and the issues at hand, it would have been a lot nicer if more time were spent actually hashing that bit out.

 

I also struggled a lot with the cruelty of her parents because even though this is SUCH AN important issue and it happens a LOT, I also feel like the way the community was represented as a whole could have been done better? Not all south-east asian parents are trying to marry their kids off at the youngest age possible and are super conservative. If we got more positive depictions, I think it would have helped highlight the issue even more without stereotyping an entire community.

 

That said, I do think the author did a good job with exploring the issue of forced arranged marriages and how horrible they can be. In the second half of the book, Nalia’s emotions become so real and her pain  and it hurts. 

 

So overall, I would recommend this book to readers because the right people will fall in love and every story needs to be told & read.

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